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Pennsylvania trail pioneer Laurie Lafontaine credits her training for long-distance running, cycling and equestrian events for her success in trail advocacy.


About the Author

Mark Cheater is senior editor of Rails to Trails.

Laurie Lafontaine:
Going the Extra Mile
by Mark Cheater

hen people in and around Indiana, Pa., talk about "the mother of all rail-trails," they're not referring to an awe-inspiring path. They're talking about Laurie Lafontaine, a 64-year-old activist and sixth-generation resident of this western Pennsylvania town who has been a trail advocate for more than two decades. Lafontaine helped give birth to and grow an extensive system of rail-trails in this former coal-mining area, including the Ghost Town, Hoodlebug, and Cambria and Indiana.

On the day we were first scheduled to talk, Lafontaine had to beg off: One of her three horses, a thoroughbred, was lame from an abscess on its hoof, and a blacksmith was coming over to dress the wound. For this long-time equestrian, the health of her horses is paramount. That's perfectly understandable—after all, it was her search for safe places to horseback ride (and cycle and run) that got Lafontaine into the rail-trail movement to begin with, and the endurance she developed from her outdoor endeavors that contributed to her success.

Read the complete article by Mark Cheater online:

 Going the Extra Mile (PDF/156KB)

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