Trail Maintenance Buildings
All across America old railroad beds are being converted into trails for uses such as walking, running and biking. According to www.railstotrails.org over 30,000 miles of trails now criss-cross our country.
My personal favorite is the Hiawatha Trail (www.ridethehiawatha.com) which begins in Western Montana (near what was once the boomtown of Taft) into Northern Idaho. It is 15 miles long with 10 train tunnels and seven sky high trestles. The 1.66 mile long St. Paul Pass Tunnel, also known as the Taft Tunnel, is a highlight of the trail which follows the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains near Lookout Pass Ski Area.
The history of this trail is fascinating. In August of 1910 one of the most devastating forest fires in recorded American history burned much of the natural forests in Northern Idaho and Western Montana. The fire burned up to three million acres! It was so huge a massive cloud of smoke spread across Southern Canada and the Northern U.S. all the way to the St. Lawrence River. The darkness from the smoke was so great, artificial lighting had to be used for five days as far east as Watertown, New York!
The fire completely devastated the St. Joe River valley of Idaho and destroyed all of the towns except Avery and Marble Creek, many of which were never rebuilt.
There were numerous stories of very heroic actions by railroad employees who drove engines and box cars filled with people through the flames to safety of the longer tunnels. Reportedly over 600 lives were saved in this manner alone!
These trails do not take care of themselves.
Roaring Run Trail in Pennsylvania users may enjoy the simplicity of taking a walk through the woods, but it takes a committed core of volunteers to maintain it.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize how many volunteers it takes to maintain this trail,” said Chelsea Walker of Kiski Township.
B.J. Bellotti of Avonmore, treasurer for the Roaring Run Watershed Association which oversees the trail, said they organized an informal event both to attract new members as well as to display a recently completed storage building.
Bellotti said many trail users wondered what was being built when land was cleared for the building, so they wanted to open it up to the public.
She said the new, larger pole building will allow for more practical storage of the tractor, Kubota multipurpose machine, brush hog mower, trailers and other equipment used to maintain the estimated 18 miles of trails on the association’s 650 acres of property.
The main Roaring Run Trail is about 6.5 miles long, extending from Third Street in Apollo to the Edmon section of Kiski Township along the path of the 1800s Pennsylvania Main Line Canal. There also is the 1.5-mile Rock Furnace Trail which branches off the main trail and follows the Roaring Run creek to Brownstown Road.
If your trail’s maintenance equipment needs a new home – a post frame (pole building) is most likely the ideal structure. With reasonable upfront costs and the ability to be constructed by volunteers, post frame buildings are the ideal solution – just as one was for the Roaring Run Trail!