American Trails Photo Contest 2004

American Trails sponsors an annual photo contest for photographs of National Recreation Trails. Contest details for 2004 are at the American Trails Photo Contest page.  These are the photos I sent for 2004. The idiosyncratic selection of trails was driven by the rules -- only designated National Recreation Trails are eligible.

The winning photos are at the top, followed by other photos from the Great Allegheny Passage, the Montour Trail, the Ghost Town Trail, the Allegheny River Trail system, the Houtzdale Line Trail, and the Cuyahoga Valley Trail.

Winning Photos

Category: Paddling and Water Trails

   

Paddling Demo Day

North Shore section of Three Rivers Heritage Trail

As part of one of the riverfront festivals, local canoe and kayak clubs and dealers brought boats down to the river to give introductory lessons and give people a chance to try out the sport.  I’m pretty sure that everyone in the boats is wearing PFDs. This is part of Pittsburgh’s very successful redevelopment of the riverfronts as public recreational space.

Category: Historic Features

   

Stacks

Steel Valley section of Great Allegheny Passage

The old Homestead Works of the US Steel Corporation on the banks of the Monongahela River is being redeveloped as The Waterfront, a shopping, living, dining, and entertainment complex.  The former rail line along the bank has become part of the Steel Valley Trail. The signature feature of this trail well be the original stacks of the Homestead works, all that remains of the original industrial use.

Category: Arts and Interpretation

   

Dancing Fountain

Three Rivers Heritage Trail section of Great Allegheny Passage

The dancing fountain in Station Square, just across from downtown. This fountain is choreographed to music; we call it the “dancing fountain”. Here, people are dancing in the spray. This is part of Pittsburgh’s very successful redevelopment of the riverfronts as public recreational space.

 

Category: Innovative Facilities

Allegheny-Sandy Connection

Connecting the Allegheny River Trail and the Sandy Creek Trail

The Allegheny River trail runs at river level. The East Sandy Creek Trail crosses the Allegheny on the spectacular Belmar Bridge, then crosses East Sandy Creek several times on high bridges. Eventually we hope to see a graded trail connection, but for now we have stairs down from the Belmar Bridge to the trail at river level.

Other Submitted Photos on the Great Allegheny Passage

Yough River Trail South
(a National Recreational Trail)

   

Grotto

The lower end of this trail is rich in waterfalls

   

Sunny View

The pipeline crossing north of Stewarton  is a favorite overlook and rest stop

Three Rivers Heritage Trail

   

Sculpture Park

Notes: The sculpture park sits between office buildings and the Allegheny River. This is part of Pittsburgh’s very successful redevelopment of the riverfronts as public recreational space.

Watersteps

This very popular public fountain cascades down to the edge of the trail, which is right beside the river. This is part of Pittsburgh’s very successful redevelopment of the riverfronts as public recreational space. To the enormous credit of the Powers that Be, playing in the fountain is not forbidden.

Steel Valley Trail

   

Waterfront Trail

The old Homestead Works of the US Steel Corporation on the banks of the Monongahela River is being redeveloped as a shopping, living, dining, and entertainment complex.  The former rail line along the bank has become part of the Steel Valley Trail.

   


Carrie Furnace
The old Homestead Works of the US Steel Corporation on the banks of the Monongahela River is being redeveloped as a shopping, living, dining, and entertainment complex.  Trail is also being developed on the other side of the river. Eventually this trail will reach the Carrie Furnace complex, site of the historic 1892 battle between striking steelworkers and the Pinkerton detective agency. In its prime, Carrie Furnace produced 600 tons of steel ingots each day. The hot ingots were carried across the single-purpose “hot metal bridge” to the rolling mills in Homestead. The hot metal bridge, visible in this photo, will become a trail connection.

Yough River Trail North

   

Volunteers

The tractor driver is the head of a group of mostly-retired volunteers who do most of the maintenance and much of the construction on the Youghiogheny River Trail North. The biker is a leader of trail development on the Montour and Panhandle trails.

Allegheny Highlands Trail in PA

   

Trail Host

The gentleman on the left, well into his 90’s, has served as volunteer trail host at Rockwood for most of a decade.  He greets visitors, offers trail information, and sells souvenirs.

     

Gentle Savage

The Big Savage Tunnel through Savage Mountain is the critical connecting link in the Great Allegheny Passage. It won’t be officially open until summer 200, but this preview was offered as part of the Grand Opening of the Allegheny Highlands Trail in Maryland in October 2004 (the tunnel is actually a couple of miles into Pennsylvania, so it’s on the PA segment). In the foreground are leaders of the Allegheny Highlands Trail in Maryland and the Montour Trail.

     

Get Bent

Rockwood trailhead

Allegheny Highlands Trail in MD

 


Frostburg Trail Switchbacks
Until the trail is completed from Cumberland to Frostburg, many riders will choose to ride the Western Maryland Scenic RR. The connection requires descent of a steep hill; creative use of a hillside has produced a trail from the Frostburg train station to the main part of the trail that meets ADA requirements for grade, it’s not dreadful to ride up.

Photos on the Montour Trail

 

 

 

 

 
McDonald Trestle 
The 960-foot-long McDonald Trestle carries the trail 70 ft over the Robinson Run Valley. It will become the signature structure of the Montour Trail. The Panhandle Trail runs alongside Robinson run, and trail connections are under construction.

 

Montour Peters

This short section was constructed by the PA Turnpike Commission as part of a land swap that simplified construction of a nearby toll road.

Photos on the Ghost Town Trail

 

 

 

 

  

 

Share the Creek Bed

The Rexis spur runs north to US422, which is on an embankment well above trail level and in any case is a high-speed road with no nearby safe crossing. When the bridge over this branch of Blacklick Creek was reconstructed, the work included provisions for the trail to share the creek bed with the creek. The trail currently ends here, but plans call for extension north and east, eventually swinging back to create a loop.

Other Submitted Photos on the Allegheny River Trail and East Sandy Trail

 

Allegheny River Trail

 

Hopscotch

The village of St George, between the Rockland and Kennerdell tunnels. The roads aren’t paved in this small riverside village, so the trail is not only out of traffic; it’s also the only paved place in the village.

 
Dark in Here
The Kennerdell and Rockland Tunnels are long and curved. They’re also far, far from electricity. Furthermore, they’re paved in the center with black cinders on the sides. The developers found a clever way to handle this: they put down 4” highway reflectors on the center and sides of the pavement.  Any light at all, even a feeble headlight, gives a lot of light back to the rider.

The Bear Facts

When we were there Thanksgiving weekend, there had been a lot of recent rain. Animals had walked through the mud near the trail and left clear prints on the trail. This one was a bear.

 

Pump Harder

The Allegheny River Trail extends north from Franklin into Oil City. Formally called the Samuel Justus Trail, this is a seamless extension of the trail.

Notes:  Several donkey engines – oil well pumps – remain beside the trail.

East Sandy Trail

 

 
Belmar Bridge
The Allegheny River trail runs at river level. The East Sandy Creek Trail crosses the Allegheny on the spectacular Belmar Bridge, then crosses East Sandy Creek several times on high bridges.

 

   

Creek View

This trail runs up a fine little valley. Because of the high crossing of the Allegheny River, the first few miles are high above the creek. Eventually, the creek’s gradient brings the creek up near the trail, and east of the tunnel the two are not far apart.

     

Snow Going
This trail runs up a fine little valley. Because of the high crossing of the Allegheny River, the first few miles are high above the creek. One fine day in late January in a spell of warm weather, we decided to go up to these trails because everything else would be soft after the snow melt. We were sort of right – but the valley is so narrow that the sun hadn’t gotten in to melt the snow yet.  We weren’t icebike-equipped, so we didn’t go far or fast.

     

East Sandy Tunnel

This trail runs up a fine little valley. Because of the high crossing of the Allegheny River, the first few miles are high above the creek. Eventually, the creek’s gradient brings the creek up near the trail, and east of the tunnel the two are not far apart.

Houtzdale Line Trail

 

 

 

 

   

 Houtzdale

 

Cuyahoga Valley Trail, Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail

 

 

    

Riding Rails and Trails

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic RR has several stops near the trail and in several places runs right alongside the trial. The train runs a boxcar to carry bikes, and last summer we used the train as shuttle for a ride from Akron to the outskirts of Cleveland.  We boarded at Rockside Rd, and here we’re unloading bikes at the Akron station.

    

CSX "Short Line" Trestle

The high structure is the historic trestle built by the New York Central RR in 1907 to bypass congestion in Cleveland.  It’s 160 ft high, 1988 ft long and still carries 40-50 trains a day. Beneath it are a variety of pipelines. The trail passes under all of this in a structure much like a covered bridge, presumably to protect trail users from stuff falling from the trains.

  

Water Power

Water level in the canal was controlled by allowing regulated amounts of water to run off into adjacent creeks. This waste weir still has the mechanism used to control the discharge gates. We’re looking over the top of the waste weir, across the towpath, and across the canal to Wilson’s Mill, a former grist mill.

    

Hammering Dulcimers

The visitor center at Hunt Farm often hosts heritage performances. This is the second time we encountered people playing hammered dulcimers there.

 
Equine Volunteers
The local equestrians provide a “Mounted Assistance” patrol on the trail. These horses were taking a break at the Hunt Farm trailhead, meeting and greeting the public.  Note that the horses are wearing volunteer patches.

     

Portage Trail

Indians used to portage canoes from the Tuscarawas River to the south up to the Cuyahoga River north of Akron. This provided a connection between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. The endpoints of the portage path – both on the Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail -- are commemorated with this larger-than-life statue.  This is the statue at the Cuyahoga River end.

     

Canal Boat "St Helena III"

The Canal Fulton Heritage Society operates a replica of a typical canal freight barge, offering rides to the public.

 

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