A special appeal to Friends of the Allegheny River Trail in Clarion County. This is a crucial time for the trail development. We have plans and estimates and we are eager to get more work done. As of Oct 2021 we own 2 acres at the Foxburg bridge and the first mile of right of way. Our tremendous volunteer corps has cleared 90% of the brush and trees south of Shoup’s Trucking business. We are ready to implement our Erosion and Sedimentation plan and begin trailhead development as weather permits. Opening the trail through the Trucking business will present unique challenges and significant expenses. Most important, right now, we are preparing our application for a Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Major Construction Grant. DCNR has very detailed and specific requirements for documents to be submitted. And, we must have at least a 20% match for whatever grant request we make. There is in most cases a soft cap of $500,000 on grants in this program. This means we may have to come up with over $100,000 match. This match can be in the form of cash on hand, written pledges of cash over the 4 year duration of the grant, written pledges of volunteer labor, use of machinery and construction materials. DCNR also requires letters stating these intentions from our donors. Such letters must also include a description of why the trail is important to the individual and to the community. Our engineering and construction studies thus far indicate that we will need more than $500,000 to complete this first mile. So we have been accomplishing as much as possible with volunteer labor to reduce our final request.
The grant application is due April 6, so we must secure our pledges and donations by the end of March. If we are successful, the grant award will be announced in Oct 2022 and the money will be available in early 2023. Until then, we will press on with our dedicated volunteers. Any work done by volunteers prior to the grant award cannot be counted as part of the match and cannot be included in the grant request, but we can deduct it from the total grant amount requested. ARTinCC is asking all Friends of the Trail to give serious consideration right now to pledging “what they can afford” over the 4 year period from 2023 to 2027.
We will soon be working on negotiating with landowners in the two remaining miles connecting to the Emlenton trailhead. Those two miles present far fewer challenges and considerably less expense. Additional grant applications will be made for these remaining two miles.
If you are willing and able to make a pledge of money, time, equipment or materials, we need your pledge letter by the end of March. You can reach out to us right now for assistance in preparing a pledge letter:
Robert Jennings: [email protected] – 412-721-7615
Dennis Keyes: [email protected] – 724-679-1055
If you are unable to make a financial pledge but would like to make a one time donation, you can do so on our main DONATE page on our website. If you would like to know more about our plan for the trail, check out our VISION under the ABOUT tab on our website.
For your convenience, below are links to downloadable PDFs of sample pledge letters for donations, volunteer hours, equipment, and materials. You may use these as templates to craft your own letters. But please, make your letter your own. Tell YOUR story. DCNR does not want to see a stack of form letters. Letters should be addressed to DCNR as in the model letters. Please e-mail your unsigned draft letter to [email protected]. Signed printed copies should be physically mailed to:
c/o Bob Jennings
PO Box 325
Foxburg, PA 16036