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PCPaRC Spring 2019 Newsletter

The West Virginia Northern Rail-Trail is alive! 

Spring is an intoxicating season, full of energy and possibilities.  PCPaRC invites you to join us for several events this summer, but also to take an active role is making Preston County a healthier, more vibrant place to live and play by becoming a supportive member. Visit our Membership Page for more info. 

Tunnelton Made it Happen!  Come celebrate with us! 

The first 3/4 mile of the West Virginia Northern Trail has just received a massive facelift with drainage work and a gravel path from the Tunnelton Quikstop to the Pumphouse. 

This coming Saturday, April 13th, we will be having a fabulous celebration of community action and progress for Tunnelton. Over 30 people have registered to either hike or bike the whole or half (10 or 5 mile) length of the WV Northern, arriving in Tunnelton for the celebration!  See our facebook event page for more info. Registration for the hike is now closed, but if you email we can make it work! 

Here is a sneak peak of the progress! 

A few days ago, a number of volunteers took it upon themselves to clean up the trail and pumphouse in preparation for the celebration. What an amazing surprise! 

On October 19th, the volunteer group, Tunnelton Rail Trail Committee, held a Spaghetti Dinner in the Tunnelton Firehall. They also received direct donations and support from PCPaRC and Tucker Community Foundation to that will pay for the $10-15,000 work to remediate the first mile of the trail which needs drainage, gravel, and grading work. Work has been completed by Browns Mill Excavating.    

Also! Tucker Community Foundation is awarding PCPaRC $2000 of the $5000 requested in a proposal to help Tunnelton raise the funds plus.  TCF also assisted PCPaRC on an online giving campaign to meet the rest of the goal which raised a few hundred dollars. TCF then took it one step further providing the last bit of money necessary to cover the contract work for the trail remediation! Thank you! 

Visit our facebook page for more updates.
West Virginia Northern Rail-Trail Scouting Mission Report 

In preparation for the group walk of the WV Northern next Saturday for National Trail Day, I (PCPaRC Director, Emily Carlson) walked/ran the entire length of the trail on the warm sunny day of February 27th. I began the trip from Sisler St in Kingwood and followed the corridor to Birds Creek Rd in Howesville.

Now that the Shops Buildings are cleared on Sisler St, the beginning of the trail here is visible and easy to locate. I was honestly surprised at how easy it was to follow the trail. It was obvious that ATVs use the trail pretty regularly, but the upside is that they've kept most of the trail pretty clear of vegetation. Approaching the concrete plant required a very slight detour where the trail followed a degraded culvert. Shortly after this detour I came across a washout that was easy to get around and over. I didn't have any problem finding the way until I came to the switchbacks and ended up bushwhacking for a while until I found the trail again. The weather and the views were lovely; the landscape obviously had a lot of stories to tell that I hope to learn someday. When I arrived in Howesville, the trail seems to disappear momentarily into the road, only to pick up again in a few hundred feet. I stopped by Alisa Kilkenny's house (a PCPaRC Commissioner) to check in since she had graciously volunteered to help me with the shuttle. Even more graciously, she provided me with some zucchini bread! 

I continued on, and just south of Howesville I passed a man who was working in his yard. I stopped to say hello and let him know about the upcoming event. He warned me to be cautious since he had heard reports of a loose and aggressive dog up ahead in a mile. From that point on, I stayed alert and carried a large stick and old antenna I found (as if that would help me). Where the trail goes under Route 26, it is carved into a hillside and greatly restricted, resulting in large, unavoidable puddles. I hugged the side of the bank as much as possible, but still slipped in, resulting in soggy feet.


Just past that mess, I approached several tractor trailers that blocked the view ahead, so I began to pay closer attention and move slowly forward. A large black dog came from behind a pile of trash and stood in the middle of the trail, taking an aggressive stance with bared teeth. A small dog joined it in a similar spirit of welcome. I set down my stick and antenna and slowly backed up with eyes averted. The dog approached, growling, and I caught my breath and kept my slow pace backwards until I was out of sight. Thankfully, my pants were still drier than my feet. Looking at the map on my phone, I realized there was no alternative route and I'd have to back up and get help from Alisa. While, I waited for Alisa to pick me up and bring me back to my truck in Kingwood, I filed a complaint with the 911 dispatch center. "Bambi" as the dog is named, is now tied up and secure, but it is still an unnerving property to walk through. At least she seemed a lot less scary when I saw her tied up the other day. 

Still determined to check the rest of the trail before inviting the public, I then drove to Tunnelton and jogged north until I decided Bambi wasn't worth a second visit. This 3-mile section of trail is so beautiful and remote, following a creek through the woods and past open views and piles upon piles of railroad ties. 

I can't wait for you all to see this for yourselves. After Saturday's group walk, we anticipate many more public events. For now, if you plan on using the trail, you need to email us a signed waiver, found here. It would be an easy mountain bike ride or a great long trail run. 

Here are the photos I took along the way. 

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Elkins Trailhead Building on Deckers Creek Trail in Masontown Update

Last Friday PCPaRC attempted to open the trailhead building, but alas, even though we have drained the pipes and taken all measures to protect the fixtures, we were not aware of the need to have a space heater running to protect the regulator. We are working to get a replacement part installed ASAP so we can all enjoy the facilities again!

Join us for Meet the Cheat Float June 1st! 

PCPaRC will be partnering with Friends of the Cheat to offer sports and games at Rowlesburg Park in the afternoon, post-float. More details to come. 

Irish Road Bowling is Preston County's New Sensation! Say what? 

PCPaRC Commissioners have become aware of a small yet growing and enthusiastic group of Irish Road Bowlers in Preston County. Mystified, we invited several enthusiasts to share with us at our January meeting. One of those enthusiasts, Mark Wilt, left the meeting as a prospective PCPaRC commissioner. He is now on our board and is helping us promote this fascinating sport. 

So what is Irish Road Bowling? Irish Road Bowling is primarily played in County Armagh in Northern Ireland and in County Cork in Southern Ireland. It consists of a ball made of iron and steel that is heavy enough to pick up speed, yet small enough for any person to handle. Besides the basic rules and terms, all you do is hurl this 28 oz. sized "bowl" with an underhand motion over a 1 to 2 mile country road and see how far it goes! Scored like golf, the fewest number of shots from the start to the finish line wins. Right now, you can find three (3) organized leagues in the United States, Boston, New York and West Virginia, but this sport is gaining rapid popularity throughout the country.

It is something everyone can do which appeals to PCPaRC's mission. We have begun actively scouting out promising routes in Alpine Village and Arthurdale. Stay posted since we plan on hosting an event in Alpine Village in July. To learn more about Irish Road Bowling in WV, visit their website. 

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