The MA & PA Heritage Trail, Inc. group is hosting a hike and rally starting at 2 p.m. Nov. 2 to promote connecting the Forest Hill and Bel Air segments of the MA & PA Heritage Trail. Here are the details:
Group Plans Hike and Rally in Effort to Connect MA & PA Trail
October 17, 2013 ….The MA & PA Heritage Trail, Inc. is holding a hike along the proposed route that would connect the two segments of the trail from Forest Hill to Bel Air. The popular recreational trail currently consists of two unconnected sections totaling 5.2 miles, with a gap of approximately two-and- a-half miles between the Forest Hill and Bel Air segments. Although the trail route is designated in its entirety in the County Master Plan, one last landowner still refuses to negotiate the rights for the trail to pass through their property.
The walk will be held on Saturday, November 2 at 2 p.m. Media are invited to cover the walk, which will be followed by a rally and live music, featuring local musicians Kurt Sudbrink and Brian Wood. The public is invited to participate and meet at the Williams St. trailhead, where a shuttle will take them to the starting point, at the Melrose Road trailhead off of Bynum Road in Forest Hill. Walkers will head back to Williams St., traversing a route that will approximate where the trail will eventually be constructed, according to the county’s Master Plan, using secured public right-of way.
There remains a segment approximately 200 yards long that is owned by the family of the late state senator Bob Hooper. The family has been unwilling to allow passage of the trail through the former Harford Sanitation property, and this lack of a connecting segment is impeding the county from initiating the planning and budgeting phase of trail construction.
“We have been working for more than ten years to connect the two trail segments, and our goal is to find a way to collaborate to create a win-win situation for all Harford County residents,” said Rod Bourn, president of MA & PA Heritage Trail, Inc. “We can’t afford to give up, this is too important an issue.”
Here is a map of the proposed connection route:
“We remain committed to connecting a continuous trail of almost 8 miles in length, creating one of the best multi-use trails in Maryland,” said Phil Hosmer, vice president of the MA & PA Heritage Trail, Inc. “In addition to hiking, biking and running, we envision a day when the MA & PA Trail will also be used for commuting- carrying workers from Forest Hill, Hickory and Rock Spring into downtown Bel Air.”
The MA & PA Heritage Trail, Inc. works in partnership with Harford County Parks & Recreation to make the MA & PA trail a great place to be outdoors in Harford County. It also works to preserve the memory of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad. At present, the organization has more than 100 members and nearly 1,400 friends on Facebook.
The not-for-profit group meets quarterly to discuss issues of importance and look at ways to improve the trail for citizens of Harford County and our visitors. See the meeting schedule for specific dates and times. Visit the group’s website at http://www.mapatrail.org/index.html