Thanks to a gift from the DeFrees Family Memorial Fund, Pennsylvania Kinzua Pathways (PKP) and a group of volunteers handicap accessibility has increased on the Allegheny National Forest (ANF).
PKP, John and Logan Beard, and a group of volunteers spent Father's Day weekend working on various projects on and around the Rimrock Trail.
The main project was the construction of a 16 x 24 foot handicap accessible viewing platform. The newly constructed platform is located about 50 yards from the informational kiosk at the Rimrock Trail trailhead of the upper parking lot at Kinzua Beach.
Photo provided for publication
Haley Tuller, Haley Nelson and Coralee Wenzel weather-proof the information kiosk at Rimrock Trail
PKP founding member Joe Colosimo says about the various partners, "the DeFrees Family Memorial Fund and the Community Foundation are such great community assets. Without the support of these foundations and the generosity of the volunteers , we would not have been able to finish this portion of the project." There are additional partners that helped make the project possible as well.
John Allen Excavating and Glen O. Hawbakers Aggregate are working on resurfacing the path from the kiosk to the platform to make it easily accessible by wheelchair.
The next phase includes landscaping and signage. PKP's Chris Hobbs noted that "we are excited about putting the final touches on this pathway. These are really the icing on the cake." PKP has partnered with Bollinger Enterprises, Inc. for maintenance of the access trail and observation platform, and earlier this year, their recycling fund was donated to PKP for the platform signage.
The plan is to provide interpretive and historical information. Ekey's Garden Center provided the design work for the original landscaping and will work with PKP on the landscaping around the platform as well. "BEI is a great asset to our community, with the great opportunities they provide. We are excited to have them as a partner on this project. Barry at Ekey's is very knowledgeable and always provides beautiful designs," says Hobbs.
Volunteers used the day to secure and waterproof the benches located along the Rimrock Trail, waterproofed the informational kiosk and cleaned up and mulched the plantings. Coralee Wenzel noted, "we spent about 12 hours working on the various projects and couldn't be more pleased with how they turned out."
Colosimo further pointed out that "we are excited to take all of these projects from concept to finish. Clearing these items off the list allows us to focus 100 percent of our time on the mountain bike trail system."
The Trails at Jakes Rocks is a 40-50 mile system of stack-looped, single-track mountain biking trails that has been proposed by PKP for the area around Jakes Rocks and along the reservoir shore, connecting the campgrounds.
The group has teamed up with the Northern Allegheny Mountain Bike Association and the International Mountain Bicycling Association for the design work. PKP and the WCCBI are currently working with three universities on required environmental and heritage studies. Those are scheduled to be completed by the end of July with formal submission to the ANF by the end of the year.
If approved and funding secured, construction can begin by the Spring of 2014.