Two Entities Support Proposed Snowmobile Connector in ANF

BRADFORD, Pa. – Two agencies have voiced their support of the proposed snowmobile connector that will once again link the northern section of the Allegheny Snowmobile Loop to the rest of the snowmobile trails within the  Allegheny National Forest.

The Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau and the Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association support the proposed Allegheny Snowmobile Loop Marshburg Connector Project.

The project will designate 5.8 miles of snowmobile trail that will connect to 2.6 miles of newly designated snowmobile trail on private land that belongs to the Forest Investment Associates. Both trails are located in McKean County, Pennsylvania. The ANF is the only national forest in Pennsylvania.

The Forest Service will have to construct .3 miles of snowmobile trail to connect Forest Roads 637 and 176.

The previous connector was shut down during the 2010-2011 snowmobile season due to a right-of-way dispute.

Both Linda Devlin, representing the ANF Visitors Bureau, the official tourism promotion agency for McKean County, and Kevin Kost, regional director of the PSSA, attended a meeting in May with representatives from the Allegheny National Forest and Ken Kane from the Forest Investment Associates. The purpose of the meeting was to review new options to reconnect “The Loop”. It was a consensus from both the ANF Visitors Bureau and PSSA that this would be the best plan to connect trails.

“Having this trail connection will be a huge boost for tourism in our area,” Devlin said. “It was quite a challenge this past year when an important part of the snowmobile trail was not usable.

“My office gets literally hundreds of phone calls from people seeking a great place to ride their snowmobiles. It’s a shame we had to steer them away from this section in what was one of the best snowmobile seasons we’ve had in a long time. It is great that PSSA proactively worked with private landowners and the Allegheny National Forest to develop a solution that will improve legal riding opportunities in the region,” Devlin said.

The closed trail effectively shut off traffic between the Westline Inn and the Willows Restaurant. The lack of snowmobile traffic hurt both businesses during the winter months.

The approximately 23-mile section of trail from the Willows Restaurant to the New York State border was open, but not groomed.

The proposed new connection is located in Hamilton Township, McKean County, and crosses Forest Investment Associates property.

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