by Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com
There’s still availability to join the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s 2017 Pennsylvania Sojourn, June 18-23, a six-day cycling trip exploring two dedicated trails—the legendary Great Allegheny Passage and beautiful Montour Trail – a total of some 150 miles of biking.
The organization’s main fund-raiser of the year, you get to experience Pennsylvania’s famous scenic wilderness, charming towns, beautiful tunnels, iconic sites and can’t-miss destinations.
The fully supported rail-trail adventure vacation, operated by Wilderness Voyageurs, offers great food (breakfast and dinner), hot showers, flexible scheduling (you ride at your own pace), fun evening activities, optional trips and experiences—and the added benefit of supporting America’s trails.
The trip is June 18-23, and costs $720/adult, $620/child. You have the option of bringing your own tent, renting tent service through Comfy Campers (extremely handy), or booking nearby bed-and-breakfast accommodations.
The tour highlights include optional climbs to the highest mountain in the state, Mt. Davis and the Eastern Continental Divide, the Mason-Dixon Line and Big Savage Tunnel.
The third-day is a layover with an opportunity to choose an excursion – visiting Fallingwater (a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright); visiting Kentuck Knob (also designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) or taking a rafting trip, either Lower Yough Class 3 rafting trip or Middle Yough Class 1-2 rafting trip
Get more information and the day-by-day itinerary https://www.railstotrails.org/experience-trails/sojourns/2017-ride/
The annual RTC Sojourn is not just a great way to experience these trails, but also are powerful “trail-building tools” that highlight the significant impact of long-distance trail routes on America’s communities. Participants explore communities and attractions along the way (from the picturesque to the historic), take advantage of open trails and draw attention to gaps in would-be trail systems that, if completed, could result in substantial benefits (economic, health, social, environmental and much more) for their local regions.
For example, the Pennsylvania Sojourn will call attention to a major project, the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition. A collaboration of more than 100 organizations, and led by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the National Park Service and RTC, the project would link 1,400 miles of multiuse trails, stretching across 48 counties in four states – Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York. It would stimulate the regional economy through outdoor tourism and small business investment, and create social equity and new health connections for underserved communities across the project footprint.
The sojourns serve to unite a selection of trails for a short period of time, serving as “dry runs” designed to benchmark—through real-world examples and user surveys how trail-system improvements could increase local bikeability and walkability.
Over the past 15 years, Sojourns have helped influence the creation and/or growth of multiple regional trail alliances through demonstrating the significant boost to local economies generated by the sojourn participants in just a few days – a small reflection over what can be achieved when programs are established.
RTC compiles economic impact data on the combined spending on food, supplies, rentals, equipment and other sojourn-related services, which is shared with local hosts to inspire future trail building and enhancements.
The 2014 sojourn’s positive economic impact to the region was $211,000.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy helps communities meet their own challenges toward trail development, with expertise and assistance obtaining funding and design; and advocates with lawmakers at local, state and federal levels for policies and funding programs that make trail development and walking/biking infrastructure possible. The organizations promotes trails – awarding Trail of the Year, for example – forges partnerships, and is the nation’s foremost nonprofit advocate for rail-trails, working to create and protect the legal structures that make them possible.
The sojourns are designed for all ages and skill levels—from the young to the young-at-heart, aficionados to first-timers, families to freewheelers!
To book the 2017 Sojourn, https://wilderness-voyageurs.com/bike-tours/rails-to-trails-conservancy-sojourn.
Learn more about Rails-to-Trails Conservancy at www.railstotrails.org.
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