BROCKWAY – Paul Boboige is embarking on a project to connect the Five Bridges Trail to the Redbank Valley Trail in Brookville, bridging the “missing link” between the two trails for a seamless 100-mile experience.
Boboige recently launched the Brookville Trail Hub group, which can be found on Facebook under the same name, for this project. The Tricounty Rails to Trails organization has agreed to hand over the Five Bridges Trail to the new group.
With responsibility for this trail, Boboige hopes to close the 10 mile gap between the end of the Five Bridges Trail in Allens Mills and the Redbank Valley Trail in Brookville. If the project is successful, Brookville Trail Hub will be responsible for the length of the trail from Arch Street in Brockway to the Redbank Valley Trail on South White Street in Brookville.
If the missing link is completed, he said a local group would be responsible for signage to help hikers and travelers find their way from the Redbank Valley Trail to the Five Bridges Extension through Brookville.
“So the same is in Brockway, we did it in Brockway on a budget basis which shows how to get from Wolf Run which is from Falls Creek to Lanes Mills 2 miles from Brockway in Brockway to ‘to Seventh Avenue where the Clarion-Little Toby Trail started and then to get to the Five Bridges Trail,’ Boboige said.
He also said that “unfortunately the tunnel has been removed,” so another part of the project is to work with PennDOT on a highway occupancy permit.
Boboige used Brockway as an example of a town that attracts people for the trails. He explained how the trail was designed to make Brockway a “trail town”.
“These trails get a lot of people…You go to Brockway on a weekend and look at the license plates and there are so many out-of-state plates,” Boboige said. “It shows there’s a lot of interest in trails, people from cities are coming out, and if they come to the area and see how good we have it here, maybe they’ll move here and will bring their businesses with them. So there is a lot of potential that opens up.
Chris Corbran of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council also spoke about the economic impacts already seen in other areas, particularly the Great Allegheny Passage, an area that has successfully connected multiple trails.
Boboige explained that because of the way the Clarion-Little Toby trail passes through the city, before connecting to the Five Bridges and Wolf Run trails, it benefits the community.
“It’s an important part of connecting trails, getting communities to help tourists get through town and spend money,” he said.
Those interested in helping maintain the existing Five Bridges Trail, or helping to establish the non-profit organization and expand the “missing link” trail to Brookville, can get more information or email a message to the Brookville Trail Hub page on Facebook, managed by Boboige.
The group will soon begin having regular meetings with those interested in serving on the committee.