Mahoning Shadow Trail ‘Free and Fun Day’ set for Sunday

By Larry McGuire
Of The Spirit

FORDHAM — What two things do you hope for most when you learn of an event that may be taking place?

If you said it's free, and it's fun, then you'll want to attend the Punxsutawney Area Rails-to-Trails Association's "Free and Fun Day" to be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Fordham trail head of the Mahoning Shadow Trail, said Susan Wolfe, Punxsutawney Area Rails to Trails Association secretary.

The Fordham trail head is located on Fordham Road, just up from Valier, and has a beautiful pavilion, said Wolfe, adding that the Fordham trail head is one of the end points for the trail.

She said all of the seven trail heads have parking for those who want to use the trail.

"Our association received a grant several years ago from DCNR that was used toward constructing a picnic pavilion at the Fordham trail head," she said.

"The shop classes at the (Punxsutawney Area) high school, under the direction of Chad Stiteler, constructed the picnic tables for the pavilion," Wolfe said, adding that the limestone for the trail head parking lot was donated by Dave Osikowicz of Grange Lime and Stone at the time of the project.

Amy Taladay, event coordinator, said there will be items that will be auctioned during the event including:

• A photograph of the trail framed and matted by Trailhead Gallery

• Trailz End-Cycle Shop in Indiana is donating a package of bicycle items

• Planet Bike in DuBois has donated a gift certificate

• Bob's Cycle has also donated gift certificates

Refreshment supplies were donated by Fezell's County Market.

Taladay said her favorite part of the trail is from Rose Run to Fordham, and she runs, walks, bikes and cross country skis on it during the winter.

Wolfe said the trail from Fordham all the way to "Devil's Elbow," near Johnsonburg, is 15.2 miles long.

"I don't run like Amy (Taladay) does; most of the time I spend on the trail is on my bike," Wolfe said.

She said from her house, it's about a 16-mile ride down the trail.

Howard Glessner, head of trail maintenance, said there's a schedule that trail maintenance follows every year.

"In the spring we spray for weeds, which is the most effective way that the association has for keeping the trail clear of vegetation," Glessner said, adding that even with spraying, there is still growth that will occur.

"In the fall the growth will retain the leaves and encourage more growth on the trail," he said. "We are trying to keep the weeds and brush off of the trail all the time."

Glessner said there have been a few more people to assist with trail maintenance lately.

"We've had 40 trees down since Memorial Day which had to be cut up and prevents us from doing the other work that needs to be done," Glessner said.

He said the trail group is planning to have a wood sale from the trees that were toppled from the storm.

Glessner said some of the wood that was cut and stacked after trees were toppled by recent storms was removed from the Mahoning Shadow Trail without the permission of Jefferson County (the trail owner) or the trail association.

"We have reported this to law enforcement," Glessner said, adding that this is considered larceny.

Anyone who would like to assist with trail maintenance should call Glessner at 938-6893.

Wolfe said the ultimate goal of Sunday's event is that more people will become familiar with the trail and begin to use it themselves.