2023 Newsletter
Welcome 2023, let’s hope this summer is dry and sunny. I would like to see a record number of trail users this year. In the past year we have been very busy. Last summer, we had plans of replacing the old wooden deck at the Salt Box. We removedthe deck and found that the entire front of the structure had rotted away. Thanks to Kim Harris, of Oil Region Alliance for writing a grant to PNC Bank for repairs. Nick Reisinger of Reisinger’s Renovations did all the repair work. He replaced the front sill plate and replaced all the downstairs windows with energy efficient new ones. AVTA replaced the deck with a new composite decking andenlarged it by two feet. Plans for this summer will be to paint the outside of the building.

This year the Salt Box will be open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sundays from 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM, starting April 15th, weather permitting. We still need a couple of volunteers to fill a couple of two-hour spots. If this might interest you, please contact an AVTA board member, or stop by the Salt Box when we are open.

Last year, Matt Criado earned his Eagle Scout Award by replacing all the mile markers from Franklin to Emlenton. Nice job Matt!!!! Thank you for considering AVTA for your project.

Get the full newsletter here

2022 Updates
If you have been on the Sandy Creek trail already this year, you probably noticed some timbering being done. Two property owners had their property timbered, so we had them do a select cut of ours. This will provide us with some funds to clean out the ditches and clean out some drains along the Sandy Creek trail.

On the Sunday after Applefest a half marathon is held on our Sandy Creek Trail. The Belmar Bridge Half Marathon is sponsored by Wolfcreek Race Management. This year’s event is on October 16th. If you need more information, go to wolfcreektrackclub.com

2021 Updates
Oil Region Alliance is busy working on grants to repair the bridge over Ritchey Run, just south of Emlenton. Also, they are working on a grant to install doors on the Rockland Station Tunnel and put in a handicap parking area at the tunnel.

2020 Updates
In September 2020, the AVTA purchased a “Buffalo Turbine” leaf and debris blower. This implement attaches to the three-point hitch on our John Deere tractor and the blower is driven by the tractor’s power take off. The turbine directs a large volume of air at high speed through a 12-inch diameter nozzle to clean the trail of fallen leaves and debris.

2019 Updates
A prolific patch of native butterfly weed was identified and protected on the bike trail. This patch is downriver about a mile from the Belmar bridge on the Allegheny Bike Trail and will be in bloom around the 4th of July. Last year the AVTA selected another mile in the same area to plant and distribute milkweed and butterfly weed. The planted plots are to help determine which seeds and plants are the most successful along the bike trail. Both of these areas are marked with butterfly signs and stakes. Check out what kind of success we are having this summer when you are out riding.

2018 Updates
This year, we will be adding to the number of markers indicating the Erie to Pittsburgh trail. If you ride along the Allegheny River Trail, you’ve probably noticed the cement markers with the Erie to Pittsburgh logo. We will add 11 of those markers to the trail this year, along with some old railroad markers just north of Emlenton.

A new kiosk was built at the Franklin trailhead this spring, along with a bike repair station. It will be under roof so fixing your flat or adjusting your brakes can be done easily and without fighting the rain.

A grant was received from PNC Bank to do some repair work on the road through Sunny Slopes. A lot of ditch work and grading was done to get it it ready for future improvements.

2016 Updates
A very generous donation was received which will be used to improve the access road and parking area at the trail access in Van.

The drains were cleaned out from St. George to the Kennerdell Tunnel. This will keep the water off the trail and reduce the amount of standing water along side the trail.

F & W Mowing Service cut back the brush from Emlenton to Franklin on both sides of the trail. The Sandy Creek Trail from Van to the Belmar Bridge was also mowed!This should keep the brush from growing back over the trail for a few years.

June 1, 2016 - Paving Completed
Paving from Belmar to Brandon was completed.

May 11, 2016 Annual Members Meeting
To be held at the Christ United Methodist Church at 1135 Buffalo Street in Franklin. See details in newsletter link below.

April 26, 2016 Paddle & Pedal Trip
Outdoor Allegheny River Services Torn between wanting to enjoy the river and riding the trails? Why not enjoy having the best of both worlds! With the Paddle/Peddle trip you combine a six mile float with a six mile bike ride. All you have to do is arrive at our office with your bike in tow, and we will provide the canoe or kayak for the float. One of the best things about the trip is your bike will be waiting for you at the take out. Then enjoy a leisurely ride on the Rails to Trails leading you back to your vehicle.

Where else can you enjoy the gorgeous river and beautiful trails on the same day? Only at Outdoor Allegheny River Services (O.A.R.S.). To reserve your paddle/peddle trip call JB @ 814.388.9122.

"See you on the river"

The estimated float time is 3-4 hours and the ride is approximately 45 minutes.

April 13, 2016
The 2016 Allegheny Valley Trails Association newsletter is available. Read the PDF version here

February 5, 2016
Two inches of snow fell last night. The trails are snow covered again.

January 31, 2016 - Trails in the Franklin Area
The Sandy Creek Trail is mostly covered in snow and ice. The Belmar Bridge is clear.

There is 8 miles of clear trail from the Franklin Trail Head. The Allegheny River Trail is clear from Franklin to just south of the Belmar Bridge about 5 1/2 miles. Then snow and ice for at least a mile. The Justus Trail is clear north from the Franklin to just beyond the 2 1/2 mile marker then snow and ice. The road beside the trail is mostly ice at this point. It looks like these sections should stay free of ice and snow at least through Monday Feb. 8.

February 26, 2011 - Third Annual" Allegheny Valley Trails Association (AVTA) Fundraiser
The "Third Annual" Allegheny Valley Trails Association (AVTA) Fundraiser will be held Saturday, February 26, 2011, at the Knights of Columbus Hall (K of C) located at 1436 Liberty Street, Franklin, PA. AVTA is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that currently manages and oversees 50+ miles of paved, non-motorized recreational trails in the Franklin area. More...

February 27, 2010 - The "Second Annual" Allegheny Valley Trails Association (AVTA) Fundraiser
The "Second Annual" Allegheny Valley Trails Association (AVTA) Fundraiser will be held Saturday, February 27, 2010, at the Knights of Columbus Hall (K of C) located at 1436 Liberty Street, Franklin, PA. AVTA is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that currently manages and oversees 50+ miles of paved, non-motorized recreational trails in the Franklin area. More...

2009 - Local trails systems in the Leisure and Tourism section of the Business Review and
Forecast for 2009

The Oil Region greenways and open space coordinator and local communities have been toiling to connect the dots between several stretches of recreation trails...Read Article

2008 - Greenway and Open Space Coordinator Hired
A Greenway and Open Space Coordinator was hired to assist the AVTA and several other local organizations associated with trail and open space planning, development and operation throughout the Oil Heritage Region as well as serve as a central point of contact and to provide professional technical assistance. Read News Release

2005 - Year of the Tunnel
The list of projects for 2005 is a big one:
The Tunnel
Construction finally began in March of 2005 with $2 million in federal Transportation Enhancement funding. This has been a long and difficult process - we began in 1991 - with many complications, considerable planning and re-planning, bureaucratic tangles (imagine a little non-profit dealing with the FHA, PENNDOT, PHMC, DEP), search for the right tunnel engineer and a plan that was reasonably priced and would result in a suitable final product. The pile of paper can be measured in feet. The final tunnel design was done by Frank B. Taylor Engineering of New Castle, but the design was subcontracted to the Wexford Consulting Group who hired a world class tunnel expert, Gordon Elliot. The mountain was probed and prodded and alternate plans and associated costs identified. The recommended plan is bold and innovative, and may be the first of its type anywhere. The 1000' long tunnel, 30'x30' is going to have a 12'x12' inner tunnel built of concrete. The 20,000 cu. ft. void is to be filled with at least 200,000 recycled cut tires and the tunnel ends sealed. Completion is scheduled for the end of June. The Sandy Creek Trail is open east and west of the tunnel, but the tunnel is closed - for now.

PA Greenway Sojourn - 2004
Nearly 400 bicycle riders from 23 states met in Spartansburg at the fairgrounds on a lovely day in July to begin what has become an annual event to celebrate existing rail-trails and to energize workers to continue the process of extending and connecting trails. The first day's ride followed an old rail line from Spartansburg to Titusville which was, at best, under construction, and at worst closed. Titusville to the campground in Oil City followed the Oil Creek State Park Bicycle Trail, some roads, and the new route through town. Oil Heritage stops were made at the Drake Well Museum, Petroleum Center and Oil Heritage Days in Oil City. The campsite was on a grassy plot just downriver from the marina.

It began to rain during the night, soaking riders and all their camping gear. The all-day rain on the second day of the tour filled every motel and Bed & Breakfast room in Franklin, the second day's destination, and sold all the dry shirts in town. The planned campground at Riverfront Park became more river than park requiring desperate measures. The spectacle of 200 campers on the gym floor of Central Elementary was something to see. The spirit of the sojourners combined with the hospitality of the people of Franklin was truly heartwarming.

The sun came out for day three highlighted by a celebration to open the 10 mile extension of the Allegheny River Trail from Brandon to Rockland Station. Invited guests and speakers included the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of DCNR, Congressman Peterson, State Senator Mary Jo White, and State Representative Scott Hutchinson. The spectacle of 400 bike riders on a grassy lawn along the Allegheny River was truly impressive. A stop at the newly opened visitor center and Pump House Museum in Emlenton's Crawford Center highlighted the afternoon ride. Dr. and Mrs. Art Steffee hosted the campers at their estate in Foxburg where weary riders were able to catch a hay ride to the Foxburg Inn for dinner. It rained again that night soaking recently dried camping gear, but a large campfire helped to keep spirits up.

Three day riders left us at Foxburg and six day riders returned along the same route, camping again in Franklin, then in Titusville at the Leisure Services recreational complex.

There are so many local people who helped, but a special mention should go to Matt Lehman who led the biking docs which included Joe Gent, Steve Schenck who led the safety patrol which included Sue Hilton and Cindy Schenck, Dave McVay who hosted 400 riders for lunch and a trail dedication on his lawn in St. George, and Karen Counselman and Maryann Porterfield who provided information and support at Franklin and Foxburg. Larry Mackey was everywhere driving truck, bussing wet riders, loading and unloading luggage, and Randy Stewart always seemed to show up when needed. I believe the whole event was a great success, good for our trails and towns - and they are coming back in 2005 with 500 riders!