Construction is underway on the first phase of the new Musser Gap Greenway, a recreational connection between Rothrock State Forest and the proposed Whitehall Road Regional Park. The trail will be completed and open in spring 2014.
The effort is an exciting collaboration between ClearWater Conservancy and Penn State.
“This project is the culmination of a lot of planning and a lot of dreaming,” says Dan Sieminski, associate vice president for Finance and Business at Penn State. “This is a wonderful use of the property and a great partnership between the University and the community.”
“This project is the culmination of a lot of planning and a lot of dreaming,” says Dan Sieminski, associate vice president for Finance and Business at Penn State.
The Greenway will eventually link the Musser Gap parking area off of State Route 45 in Rothrock State Forest to the planned Whitehall Road Regional Park on Whitehall Road.
“ClearWater Conservancy is excited about the greenway because, when it is complete, residents and visitors alike will be able to access Rothrock State Forest safely by foot or by bike from just about anywhere in State College,” said ClearWater’s conservation biologist Katie Ombalski.
Once complete in fall 2015 or spring 2016, residents and visitors using the existing Centre Region bikeway system will be able to travel from downtown State College to Rothrock State Forest. Phase 1 includes the section from the Musser Gap parking area that crosses SR 45 (Shingletown Road) and Slab Cabin Run to a gravel road on existing farmland.
Surfacing of the greenway is happening in phases, with the fall construction almost complete. The final trail surface layer will be deferred until spring when conditions will be right to ensure proper curing.
“Increasing public access to conserved lands and nature improves the quality of life for everyone in our region and is an important part of ClearWater’s mission,” said Ombalski.
“We were happy to be able to partner with ClearWater,” added Sieminski, “and also the many other local and regional organizations who also made this project a reality.”
Primary funding for the first phase of the Musser Gap Greenway comes from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Recreation and Conservation and Bureau of Forestry, Stahl Sheaffer Engineering, Penn State, ClearWater Conservancy, Department of Community and Economic Development, Centre Region Bike Coalition, Bikes Belong Coalition, Kodak American Greenways, State College Borough and Ferguson Township.
Additional Greenway partners include Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Outdoor Experience Organization, Freeze Thaw Cycles, The Bicycle Shop, Specialized, Rothrock Trail Challenge, LaSportiva, Sweetland Engineering and Associates and WHM Solutions. The general contractor for the project is John Nastase Construction.
The 423-acre Musser Gap property was conserved by ClearWater Conservancy in 2006 and transferred to Rothrock State Forest in 2007. ClearWater Conservancy is also partnering with Penn State University to plant a riparian buffer along Slab Cabin Run as part of this project.