American Trails Photo Contest 2006

American Trails sponsors an annual photo contest for photographs of National Recreation Trails. Contest details for 2006 are at the American Trails Photo Contest page.  These are the photos I sent for 2006. 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 Mon River/Caperton/Decker's Creek system, and the Cuyahoga Valley Trail.

Winning Photos

Category: Trail Use: Bicycling

   

Salisbury Viaduct

Allegheny Highlands section of the Great Allegheny Passage NRT, near Meyersdale, PA

The Salisbury Viaduct stretches across the Casselman River valley offering outstanding views up and down the valley. This area is improving its economy by developing wind farms, one of which is on the ridge in the distance.

Category: Trail Management: Trail Sharing

   

Steam Shares the Trail

Allegheny Highlands section of the Great Allegheny Passage NRT, east of Frostburg, MD

From Cumberland to Frostburg the Great Allegheny Passage shares the railway alignment with the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, which runs several excursion trains a week; on some days they run their steam engine.  This one of a relatively small number of “rails-with-trails”, and it’s the only one we know of where steam engines run. This photo was taken during the official opening of this section of the trail.

 

Category: Trail Management: Trail Work

   

We Saw the Tree

Allegheny Highlands section of the Great Allegheny Passage NRT, between Rockwood and Confluence, PA

Most of the Great Allegheny Passage runs on wooded hillsides, and it’s not uncommon for storms to bring down trees.  Several of us carry pocket chainsaws (they roll up into a 3-4” tin), and when we find the trail blocked we hold impromptu work parties instead of beating paths around the obstacles.

 

Category: Trail Features: Historic Features

Interpreting Eliza Furnace

Ghost Town National Recreational Trail at Eliza Furnace, PA

The Eliza Furnace is one of the best-preserved hot blast iron furnaces in Pennsylvania; it’s on the National Register of Historic Sites. A trailside pullout provides interpretive signage, and the lawn provides a picnic area.

Category: Trail Features: Innovative Facilities

Trail Under Cover

Cuyahoga Valley Trail, near Cleveland, OH

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 – to protect trail users from stuff falling from the trains, the trail developer installed a protective structure much like a covered bridge.

Other Submitted Photos on the Great Allegheny Passage

Three Rivers Heritage Trail section of the Great Allegheny Passage

   

Fireworks

Near The Point in Pittsburgh PA (the junction of the rivers)

Each year Pittsburgh kicks off the December holiday season with “Light-Up Night”. There’s a party downtown, all the building owners are encouraged to leave their lights on for the evening, and fireworks close the party.  The bicyclists hold a ride around the area, principally on trails; they come with lights and reflectors.  Similarly, the rollerbladers have a trip around town; they come in lights and costumes.  We wind up at the same place on the trail, across from The Point, to watch the fireworks.

Steel Valley section of the Great Allegheny Passage

   

Carrie Furnace

The Waterfront section of Steel Valley Trail in Homestead PA, looking across the Monongahela River

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.  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, just to the right of this photo, will become a trail bridge linking the two riverside trails.

Yough River Trail North section of the Great Allegheny Passage

   

Trailside Camping

Roundbottom Campground, between Dawson PA and Layton PA

The Great Allegheny Passage, together with the C&O Canal Towpath, provides one of the greatest bicycle camping tour in the east. Both have free trailside campgrounds with picnic tables, water, toilet, river access, and room to set up tents.

Yough River Trail North section of the Great Allegheny Passage

   

Trailside Cooking

Roundbottom Campground, between Dawson PA and Layton PA

The Great Allegheny Passage, together with the C&O Canal Towpath, provides one of the greatest bicycle camping tour in the east. Both have free trailside campgrounds with picnic tables, water, toilet, river access, and room to set up tents.  Here you can also see the Adirondack-style shelter provided at some of the campsites along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Youghiogheny River South section of the Great Allegheny Passage

   

Reading the Rock

Between Confluence PA and Connellsville PA

An old railroad cut provides an opportunity for a geology lesson, and a trailside interpretive sign takes advantage of that opportunity.  The dark layer near the top of the photo, running under the overhang behind the tree, is coal.

     

Interpreting the Turkeyfoot

Just north of Confluence PA, at the junction of the rivers

George Washington passed this way.  He called this the “turkeyfoot” by way of describing the unusual 3-way confluence of the Youghiogheny River, the Casselman River, and Laurel Hill Creek (yes, that’s why the town is called Confluence). From this little rest area you can see Laurel Hill Creek (under the bridge in the middle distance) and the Casselman River (coming from behind the trees on the right) conflow with the Youghiogheny River (entering just behind the fence on the right and exiting to the left).  The interpretive sign features George Washington at approximately this location.

     

Town Along the Trail

Looking toward Confluence PA from the trail bridge across the Casselman River

Confluence is one of the nicest of the little towns along the Great Allegheny Passage.

     

Grotto

Between Connellsville PA and Stewarton PA

The lower end of this trail is rich in waterfalls. This is the most accessible.

Allegheny Highlands section of the Great Allegheny Passage

   

Gentle Savage Sunset

On the south side of Big Savage Mountain Tunnel between Meyersdale PA and Frostburg MD

For years the obstacle to biking on trails from Washington DC has been getting over the mountain between Frostburg and Meyersdale.  At long last the Big Savage tunnel of the former Western Maryland Railroad has been drained, repaired, stabilized, and developed for trail use. This photo was taken at sunset, looking south toward Cumberland.

     

Rolling Down the Trail

North of Frostburg MD

Although the trail was closed during construction, the trail developers led a few tours of the construction zone.

     

Savage Tunnel

At the north end of Big Savage Tunnel

The Big Savage Tunnel through Savage Mountain is the critical connecting link in the Great Allegheny Passage. It was opened this year, to the great delight of walkers and bicyclists throughout the region. This is the north portal (on the Pennsylvania side).

     

On the Trail

Between Meyersdale PA and Confluence PA

Most of the Great Allegheny Passage is constructed with a crushed limestone surface, and most of it runs through Pennsylvania woods. This is a typical trail scene.

   


Savage Panorama
At the north end of Big Savage Tunnel
The Big Savage Tunnel through Savage Mountain is the critical connecting link in the Great Allegheny Passage. It was opened this year, to the great delight of walkers and bicyclists throughout the region. This is the panoramic view toward Cumberland from the south end of the tunnel.

Photos on the Montour Trail

 

 

 

 

   
McDonald Trestle 
McDonald Trestle west of McDonald PA, views from trailhead parking and looking up at the trestle from the Panhandle Trail where the latter crosses under the Montour Trail
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, crossing under the Montour Trail at the southern end of the McDonald Trestle. A connection between the two trails using the old connecting track along Robinson run is under construction.

 

Robinson Run Bridge on Montour-Panhandle connector

west of McDonald PA, near the McDonald Trestle

The Panhandle Trail runs alongside Robinson run, crossing under the Montour Trail at the southern end of the McDonald Trestle. A connection between the two trails using the old connecting track along Robinson run is under construction. This bridge on the connector was built by volunteers, who were creative about laying down two colors of wooden deck.

 

Enlow Tunnel

north of Enlow, PA

This short tunnel takes the trail through the ridge formed by a loop of Montour Run.  Its popularity led to enough support to get electricity to the tunnel so it could be lighted.

 

Dog Walkers on Arrowhead Trail

Arrowhead Trail section of Montour Trail, Peters Township PA

The hugely popular Arrowhead Trail is a favorite of pedestrians and dog walkers.

Photos on the Ghost Town Trail

 

 

 

 

  

 

Ghosts on the Ghost Town

Acid mine restoration area across Blacklick Creek from Vintondale

The Ghost Town Trail passes through several areas that were devastated by coal mining. One of the most extensive of these areas is under restoration, featuring art installations as part of the restoration. An entry to a deep mine beside the trail formerly drained from this mine entrance. When the entrance was sealed, this ghostly reminder of the miners was installed at the entrance.

 

 

 

 

  

 

Interpreting a former Mine Site

Acid mine restoration area across Blacklick Creek from Vintondale

The Ghost Town Trail passes through several areas that were devastated by coal mining. One of the most extensive of these areas is under restoration, featuring art installations as part of the restoration. This mosaic alongside the trail interprets the mining operations that once took place here.

Other Submitted Photos on the Mon River / Caperton / Decker’s Creek Trails

 

 

 

Coke Ovens

Alongside Deckers creek east of Morgantown WV

A former coke plant lies alongside the trail.

 
Coke Ovens
Alongside Deckers creek east of Morgantown WV
A former coke plant lies alongside the trail. The long line of coke ovens is still nearly intact

Deckers Creek Bridge

At mouth of Deckers Creek, Morgantown WV

In the center of Morgantown, the trail crosses Deckers Creek just as the creek enters the Monongahela River

 

Trailside Shop

Morgantown WV.

A former industrial building along the trail has a new life in retail. One of the shops is a sandwich shop, and we stopped here to pick up lunch.

 

   

Daymark on the Monongahela

Along Monongahela River south of Morgantown WV

The Monongahela is a working river, and this navigation aid (daymark and beacon) reflects that

     

Dam on Monongahela

Along Monongahela River south of Morgantown WV

The Monongahela River has a system of locks and dams to support navigation.

     

Gravel Silos

Alongside Deckers creek east of Morgantown

These silos handle crushed stone, transferring it to barges on the river.  The trail runs underneath the conveyer.

Cuyahoga Valley Trail, Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail

 

 

    

Trail Ramp

Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, south of Cleveland OH

A long ramp carries the trail across a waterway and wetlands

    

High Bridge

Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, south of Cleveland OH.

A highway crosses the valley high above the Cuyahoga River and trail

  

Wooden Block Bridge

Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, south of Cleveland OH

This low bridge now carries trail traffic instead of vehicles. The deck is wooden blocks, end-grain up.

    

Heron

Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, south of Cleveland OH

The trail goes through a wetland on a wooden boardwalk. An observation platform along the boardwalk provides a place to watch the animals that live in the wetland. This heron watched the observation platform for 20 minutes or so.

     

Frog

Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, south of Cleveland OH

The trail goes through a wetland on a wooden boardwalk. An observation platform along the boardwalk provides a place to watch the animals that live in the wetland. This frog tried to blend in with the lily pad,

 

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