Trails offer year-round enjoyment

First Posted: 10/14/2014

It’s a good thing the folks at Countryside Conservancy officially opened Phase I of the Clarks Summit to Dalton Trolley Trail last week because I’m one of many people who could not wait for the green light.

During the summer, after learning work on the trail was underway, I decided to politely ignore construction signage posted at the trail head on Old State Road in Clarks Summit. I’ve been a fan of other conservancy trails for years and knew I would not be disappointed with the newest stretch, comprised of three one-mile segments beginning in Clarks Summit and culminating with a 290-foot raised boardwalk in Dalton. For many years, I’ve hiked on Countryside Conservancy’s miles of trails in La Plume and Dalton, but I reserve those treks through the woods for the weekends when I have more time.

I had my first experience on the trail in August on a sunny summer mid-week afternoon and, after being on the trail, I wholeheartedly understand why Rosamond (Roz Peck, Countryside Conservancy principle founder, and her husband, James K. Peck Jr., were determined to transform the former trolley land into a multi-use, safe, car-free trail. Talk about convenience when you have a hankering to walk, ride your bike or, in the coming months, enjoy winter activities, including cross-country skiing. Anyone who desires to trade traffic and noise for a peaceful retreat will find the Clarks Summit trail head less than a mile from downtown Clarks Summit.

But it’s more than convenience and accessibility that makes this land so attractive and inviting.

You can’t help but feel the history as you stroll along the trolley trail, while at the same time observing and hearing the sights and sounds of Mother Nature – the birds chirping, deer feeding on plants and, most recently, fall splendor with the footpath covered in brightly-colored leaves.

Each section of the trail offers handicap accessible, tree-lined walking paths that wind through neighborhoods in three municipalities: South Abington, Waverly and Glenburn. Trail heads are located at the intersection of Old State Road and Routes 6 &11 (no parking), Arch Avenue (handicap parking only), Ackerly Road Trailhead (under construction), Waverly Road (no parking), Church of the Epiphany, Upper Lot and South Turnpike Road (parking available at Dalton Municipal parking lot).

A ribbon cutting ceremony that drew more 150 conservancy supporters and local dignitaries was held Oct. 10 at The Church of the Epiphany in Glenburn Township. William Kern, Countryside Conservancy executive director, James Dougherty, board president, Ellen Ferretti, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) secretary, Jim Wansacz, Lackawanna County Commissioner, Lorne Possinger, DCNR Northeast Region, Laura Ducceschi, Scranton Area Foundation, Pennsylvania State Representative Sid Michaels Kavulich, Abby Peck, conservancy board member and Cheryl Ellsworth, conservancy trail coordinator, were on hand for the ceremony.

Before using the trail, please refer to the rules posted at the trailhead. For more information, call the Countryside Conservancy office at 570-945-6995.

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