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Group, police still seeking info about vandalism to trail gates

June 15, 2011

Howard Glessner inspects the damage that was recently done to the gates at the entrance to the Mahoning Shadow Trail between Bair and Elbell roads in Bell Township. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

BELL TOWNSHIP — Vandals struck a remote portion of the Mahoning Shadow Trail recently, as someone drove a truck into the gates of the trail located between Bair Road and Elbell Road, Bell Township.

Two of the trail’s directors, Howard Glessner and Bob Anibaldi, said the group that maintains the trail, the Rails-to-Trails Association, is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those who are responsible for the damage.

Glessner said the vandals drove a rear-wheel drive dual pick-up truck into the posts of both gates, pulling them out of the ground.

The posts were poured with solid cement, but in fixing them, the bases will be poured solid, too, Anibaldi said.

Glessner said this is the third time these particular gates have been damaged at this location of the trail since it opened in 2002.

“The original wooden gates were pulled down twice before,” Anibaldi said, and that the new set of gates were thought to be nearly indestructible.

The gates at the lower end of the trail in Punxsy consist of only a cattle gate, which is what was originally installed at the trail access on Bair and Elebell Roads, Glessner said.

Anibaldi said anywhere there’s a road and an entrance to the trail, there must be a gate.

“One time, the vandals actually stole the gates and posts,” Glessner said.

Anibaldi said the association isn’t sure if these are the same vandals causing this destruction or if it’s someone new.

Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police are also investigating the incident.

The new gates were placed just over two years ago, Anibaldi said. He said he’s not sure why the people who have caused the damage keep choosing this portion of the trail, besides the fact that it is a remote location.

The Mahoning Shadow Trail runs 15 miles from Devil’s Elbow on the Johnsonburg Road to Fordham.

Glessner said the portion of the trail located from Cloe to Water Street in Punxsy is the most heavily utilized.

The association meets the second Thursday of the month at the Community Center in the Peterson Room.

The Rails-to-Trails Association is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those who are responsible for the damaged gates along the Mahoning Shadow Trail between Bair Road and Elbell Road, Bell Township.
To report information on who might have damaged the gates, call 938-6893 or PSP-Punxsy at 938-0510.

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