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Discussion Starter #1
Nice to wake up to this! Getting closer and closer.....can't wait to start moving some dirt!


Trails Near Approval
PKP project achieves milestone
April 14, 2015
By ROB ANDERSEN ([email protected]) , Times Observer
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Years of hard work on a mountain bike trail system above the Kinzua arm of the Allegheny Reservoir appears to be finally bearing fruit.

Joe Colosimo of Pennsylvania Kinzua Pathways said on Monday, "The comment period is officially over, which is really exciting. However, we still need the final report on the Heritage study. We expect to have full approval by mid-May at the latest. That will give us the green light to prepare for construction. It will also mark the end of a very long (six-plus) years of work by PKP in bringing this from concept to the doorstep of reality."

He said that in addition to local foundations and corporations, partnerships for the project include the Allegheny National Forest, the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry's fiscal agent, the Warren County Development Association, Pennsylvania Wilds, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Clarion University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
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A beautiful trail
There are fabulous walking trails in several areas around the Allegheny Reservoir, including this one at Jakes Rocks. A great deal of progress has been made to establish miles of moutain bike trails along the same hilltop and hillside. The trails will be suitable for everyone, from beginners and leisure family riders to experts.

When the comment, or objection, period ends on a weekend, the period is extended to the next business day, according to Ruth Sutton, public affairs officer for the Allegheny National Forest. She added that there were actually three comment periods.

The first comment period (the scoping period) occurred between April and May 2014. The scoping period allowed the public to provide early input on the purpose and need for the project, details of the proposed trail, and potential environmental concerns.

The second comment period, or Environmental Assessment, occurred between November and December 2014. It allowed the public to review the completed analysis and the proposed finding that the project would not have a significant impact on the environment. The most recent 45-day comment period allows the public to seek higher level review of any unresolved concerns before a decision is signed. Those are federal requirements, according to Sutton.

"In other words, the public may identify concerns with our analysis, draft finding of no significant impact, or draft decision, and have the Eastern Regional Office review the project," Sutton said. "The Regional Forester will then be responsible for reviewing the objections received, and our project file, after which the objections could either be dismissed or we could be instructed to complete additional work. The objection period ends today, and we're not aware of any objections being filed. If an objection is filed, the review process could take 45 days to complete."

"For this project, the 45th day was Saturday, April 11, (so it closed Monday). Any objections for this project would be sent to the Regional Forester in Milwaukee, WI," she added.

In a letter dated Feb. 24, ANF Forest Supervisor Sherry Tune wrote to interested parties, "After consideration of the comments received, it is my intent to implement the Proposed Action."

"The Heritage study is a part of the overall assessment that is required to be completed relative to the area of the ANF that will be involved and impacted by the project," Jim Decker, WCCBI's executive director, said. "It is an assessment that looks at the historical activities within the area so as to ensure that no historically significant features within the project area are impacted by the project construction or use. These are typical assessments required for all projects on federally owned lands."

Sutton noted that the Heritage field study was completed last year, and a report that summarizes the findings and provides recommendations to protect any known or newly-discovered heritage resources will be reviewed by the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office.

Relative to the Trails at Jakes Rocks project itself, a contract has been awarded to Kay-Linn, LLC for the development of detailed trail system construction specifications and for the securing of necessary construction permits for the project. Kay-Linn staff will be at the project site from May 3 through 11 working in collaboration with the Forest Service, ANF and Warren County Conservation district personnel to begin this work, Decker said.

A primary focus of their work will be determining the appropriate means for crossing any streams or wetland areas on the trail system. These elements have been identified and located as a part of the Environmental Assessment field work completed by University of Pittsburgh- Bradford students, but specific construction techniques and details must be defined to support project construction permitting.

"Upon completion of the construction specifications, Requests For Proposals will be published for construction of the initial section of trails which we remain confident will be completed by winter 2015. Additional funding is required to complete the construction of the 43-mile trail system with work continuing to identify and secure both public and private sector resources which can be secured for the project," Decker said.

The trail will run for 46.2 miles, 99 percent of which will be on the ANF. The first phase will be 17 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm going to keep this thread going with updates and such as things progress. I kind of started into it in the Bradford thread, but it really should have it's own....so here it is!
 

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I can't wait. I'll be able to ride out of my camp and hit these trails. Would love to pitch in and help sometime I'm up at camp.
 

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Gotta love the way the press release doesn't mention mountain bikers or NAMBA at all.

And my faith in their 'public comments' process was pretty much sunk when they declared so many trails closed to mountain bikes despite those comments.

Hope they manage to actually build single track there. I am not counting my chickens before they're hatched though.

Steve Z
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The last forest revision really shut down a bunch of trails. Tracy Ridge and Minister were big ones. Morrison, Hearts Content, Tanbark and of course the fire roads and ATV trails are still open.

I know what you mean though. We're all hopeful this goes through. I don't love NAMBA not getting any press with this, but I also know why. It's not something that I feel is appropriate to discuss here though.

I do know that PKP has at least half the funding already in place(some may be promised) for the construction. I also know they're very excited about the whole project and really are working hard to make sure it happens. The ANF is excited about it too. I imagine both of those tie into $$$, but they're on board with it nonetheless. The local community is interested even though it's not really a big thing here....again, I think as whole they see the $$$. This area being all about 'tourism' is the driving factor and Raystown is likely the biggest reason it's happening here. The success there kind of makes it a no-brainer in that regard.

That said, a whole lot of projects around here seem to just fall off the face of the earth for no reason at all so I'm cautiously optimistic as well. This has been in the making now for a very long time....started in 2009, I belive. We've made it to the final stage before the dirt starts moving.....it would be a total shock if it just dies now. I think and hope there's way too much invested and way too many parties invested for that to happen at this point.
 

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The last forest revision really shut down a bunch of trails. Tracy Ridge and Minister were big ones. Morrison, Hearts Content, Tanbark and of course the fire roads and ATV trails are still open.

I know what you mean though. We're all hopeful this goes through. I don't love NAMBA not getting any press with this, but I also know why. It's not something that I feel is appropriate to discuss here though.

I do know that PKP has at least half the funding already in place(some may be promised) for the construction. I also know they're very excited about the whole project and really are working hard to make sure it happens. The ANF is excited about it too. I imagine both of those tie into $$$, but they're on board with it nonetheless. The local community is interested even though it's not really a big thing here....again, I think as whole they see the $$$. This area being all about 'tourism' is the driving factor and Raystown is likely the biggest reason it's happening here. The success there kind of makes it a no-brainer in that regard.

That said, a whole lot of projects around here seem to just fall off the face of the earth for no reason at all so I'm cautiously optimistic as well. This has been in the making now for a very long time....started in 2009, I belive. We've made it to the final stage before the dirt starts moving.....it would be a total shock if it just dies now. I think and hope there's way too much invested and way too many parties invested for that to happen at this point.
All good points. I have my fingers crossed.

And if it works out no one will be happier than me to come over and ride the trails!!!

Steve Z
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Warren Gives

If anyone would care to donate to the trail system please follow the link above and select Pennsylvania Kinzua Pathways. The PKP is using all donations to add to the build budget.

Thanks!

Jason
 

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that ANF is some really remote stuff form what I have read. would love to get up there one day and check it out
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Some of it is. Some of it stays pretty close to the truck. I suppose it depends on how you define remote. Morrison Trail is probably the most remote....it's a loop, but starts at the road and loops down to Kinzua and back....not much for bail-out points in between.

Tracy Ridge is the same type as Morrison....but we can't ride it anymore!:madmax:

Hearts Content is a short 5-6 mile loop, but it's all fairly close to the truck. Tanbark isn't far from a road at any point really.

Now, if you mean the whole area in general....then yes, it's pretty remote.

The new trails will be about 15 minutes in the truck from Warren....and I can bike to them in about an hour on mostly dirt roads. Probably around 45 minutes if I take the hard road.
 

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Its hard to get excited about this, they have been going to break ground every fall/spring for 3 years now. This is a contractor built trail with a huge shortfall in funds, its not a bunch of volunteers ready to build on the word go. This spring they were going to break ground again and all they are doing is discussing how to cross wet areas... something you would think had been figured out back in 2008. Its easily another 10-15 years off based on every other project the USFS service has been involved in locally.

If anyone has $2 million laying around, please donate.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I don't know, I'm pretty excited about it. I understand the frustration though. Absolutely nothing the government is involved in goes quickly.

I wish I had an update, but there's nothing to update. I know 'they' did the construction assessment a month ago....haven't heard a peep about it otherwise though.
 

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Well they are pretty fast about allowing well locations and roads to get put in.
And how about that agent orange stuff they can spend money on? But no money for recreation. I really do hope the golden egg omni-bus thing happens, but MTBing on the ANF singletrack trails remain largely an illegal act.
View image: agent orange
 

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Mid June update from the USFS:
" I just finished a conference call with Scott Linnenburger and Jeremy Wimpey of Kay-Linn, Inc. the contractors who are working on the Jakes Rocks MBT. Yes, they did visit in late April and most of May and have developed contract specifications for most of Phase I. They are finalizing water crossing plans for DEP stream/water crossing permits. They expect the DEP permitting process to continue through the rest of this summer and hope to have permits in hand by this fall. They hope to have a contractor in place and begin construction this fall. Of course, everything depends on DEP permits."
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just this morning...

Major Hurdle Cleared
Study concludes mountain bike trails and bats able to co-exist
July 22, 2015
By BRIAN FERRY ([email protected]) , Times Observer
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There are still some steps to take, but one of the major sticking points along the path to building mountain bike trails at Jakes Rocks is out of the way.

Through six years of planning for The Trails at Jakes Rocks: Experience Mountain Biking in the Allegheny National Forest, there have been many agencies involved, each with its own particular interests to address.

Among other things, those agencies looked at the plants, animals, and cultural heritage in the area of the proposed 30 to 40 miles of mountain bicycling trails . The northern long-eared bat (NLEB), a species listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service largely because of white-nose syndrome, is present in the area of the project and is of interest in this case. White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that has devastated many bat populations, according to a Fish and Wildlife press release.

In a July 8 Biological Opinion, "the Service concurs that these projects are not likely to adversely affect the NLEB." The Trails at Jakes Rocks is one of several ongoing projects included in the opinion.

With that environmental concern laid at ease, the Allegheny National Forest is ready to sign off.

"This is obviously a huge milestone," PKP's Joe Colosimo said Tuesday. "It was the last major hurdle."

The only remaining steps to complete before construction can begin are the state Department of Environmental Protection permitting and sending out requests for proposals to construct the trails, Colosimo said.

ANF Public Affairs Officer Ruth Sutton "is working on a plan for a signing ceremony," Natural Resource Specialist and Planning Team Leader Steve Dowlan said.

The signing is expected to happen soon, perhaps during the first week of August, and officials would like to see it take place at Jakes Rocks.

Colosimo said funding is in place to construct nine to 11 miles of trails. Once that is underway, "we will be focusing all efforts on more fundraising to add more trail," he said.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The latest:

Please join us at the Jakes Rocks Mountain Bike Trail Project Signing Ceremony

The long-awaited decision for the proposed Jakes Rocks Mountain Bike Trail will be celebrated at a formal signing ceremony.

Friday, August 7, 2015

11:00 a.m.

Jakes Rocks Picnic Area

Your contributions to this successful collaborative effort will make it possible for the ANF to provide exciting new activities on the forest that will also benefit our local communities.

Directions: From State Route 59 (near the Morrison Bridge), take Forest Road 262 (Longhouse National Scenic Byway) south to Forest Road 492. At the Jakes Rocks Picnic Area and Overlook entrance sign, take the one lane road leading into the area (right); veer to the right at the intersection and picnic area is the first parking lot on the left.

Please RSVP to me by Wednesday, August 5.

Ruth Sutton
Public Affairs Officer
Forest Service
Allegheny National Forest
p: 814-728-6115
c: 814-596-7214
f: 814-726-1465
[email protected]

4 Farm Colony Dr.
Warren, PA 16365
US Forest Service
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Caring for the land and serving people
 
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