The Regional Trail Corporation commissioned me as a contributing writer for an interactive website detailing the story of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), an award-winning hiking and biking trail that connects Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland. The GAP was formed over a 40-year period from a series of interconnected trail segments built and managed by individual non-profit organizations. The pioneering rail-trail primarily repurposed former rights-of-way of two historic railroad lines in Western Pennsylvania and Maryland: the Western Maryland Railway and the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad.
My pieces for “Building The GAP: Our Story” covered:
- The beginning of the GAP – the initial acquisition of the Western Maryland Railway right-of-way and the building of the first 10 miles in Ohiopyle State Park.
- Biographies of key figures involved in the Ohiopyle Story: Joshua Whetzel, John Oliver, Ed Deaton, Larry Adams and Tony Suppa.
- The long and complicated creation of the Somerset County Section of the GAP, which took years and many millions of dollars to complete.
I also reviewed/edited or contributed to some of the biographies and supplementary stories for the Somerset County segment: Brett Hollern, Dave Mankamyer, Hank Parke, Rolland “Rhody” Rhodomoyer, Lincoln Van Sickel, Bollman Bridge, Salisbury Viaduct, Keystone Viaduct, Pinkerton Tunnel and Big Savage Tunnel.
One of my accomplishments in 2020 was to bike the entire 150 miles of the Great Allegheny Passage in several sections. You can find my reports on each section on Instagram.