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Carroll Valley considers expanded trails

Danielle Ryan

(2/26/2016) At itís February meeting, the Carroll Valley Planning and Zoning Committee took up consideration of a plan to build new hiking/biking trails.

Committee member Lori Davidson discussed the re-visitation of a proposal for this project during the meeting. According to Davidson, in 2004, a plan entitled the Carroll Valley Path System Plan was proposed.

The 2004 Plan was never accepted by the Borough Council in 2004. The Path System Plan does, however, follow the recommendations of the 1997 Parks Recreation and Open Space Plan, 2010 Greenways Plan and the 2015 Southwest Adams County Joint Comprehensive Plan. These three preceding plans were accepted by the Borough Council. In preparation for involvement in the Southwest Adams County Joint Comprehensive Plan, the Carroll Valley Planning Commission updated the Carroll Valley Master Plan. This document included the recommendation to implement the Path System Plan and was accepted by the Carroll Valley Borough Council.

A variety of trail corridors consisting of on-road trails, rail trails and off-road trails are being considered. Off-road trails would be classified as trail connections between parks, such as Strawberry Hill and Michaux State Park. On-road trails are classified as trails along already existing road corridors and along a variety of roadways in Hamiltonban Township.

While a variety of trails already exist in Hamiltonban Township, they are not connected to the major population centers nor do they adjoin Fairfield and Carroll Valley or connect to trails within Fairfield and Carroll Valley. Davidson hopes the new trail system will provide a solution to this problem.

The proposed trail system will connect Carroll Valley, Fairfield and Hamiltonban Township trails with a larger trail network in Gettysburg. This larger trail network itself runs from Gettysburg to Washington D.C. Once built, it will be possible for residents of Carrol Valley and Fairfield to hike from their homes all the way down to Washington.

Within Carroll Valley proper, the proposed plan calls for connecting the trails in and around Ranch Park with the Fairfield schools. In addition, the trail will connect to existing trails around the lakes in Carroll Valley and to the trails around Ski Liberty. It is also proposed that a connection trail will be built to connect Michaux State Park with Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve. Existing on-road trails in Hamiltonban Township, close to Fairfield Borough and Ortanna Village, are intended to be widened to provide for alternative modes of transportation.

Davidson met with a member of PADCNR on February 17th to discuss the possibility of the trail proposal, and hopefully, monetary assistance in the form of a Community Conservation Partnership Program (C2P2) Grant to assist with the project. At that meeting she presented a description of the trails, cost analysis, potential sponsors and stake holders etc..

The current cost estimate for construction and implementation of this Path System was completed by a certified landscape architect in 2004. Since that time there has not been an update to the estimate by a certified engineer. Davidson presented the 2004 estimate along with some conceptual estimates based on current costs during the meeting with PADCNR. Davidson states that it is their hope to utilize the borough engineer to update the current plan once grant funding is authorized. Specific details and description of the trails will be mandated by the requirements of the C2P2 Grant, and the Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program.

The C2P2 grant will also require involvement or connection to other community trails or conservation programs. Davidson reached out to Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve and South Mountain Conservation Program who both seem interested in collaboration. Specific costs of construction and full description of the trails will not be disclosed at this time due to a majority of the scope and cost currently being arbitrary. The estimated costs and specific details will be released later, once more is known.

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