FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Katie Test, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
RAILS-TO-TRAILS CONSERVANCY SUPPORTS ARMSTRONG TRAIL IN PA. SUPREME COURT
Files amicus brief, joined by Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) filed an amicus brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the case of Moody v. Allegheny Valley Land Trust, supporting "private railbanking"—the important federal statute that allows unused railroad corridors to be "banked" for future rail use and used on an interim basis as rail-trails.
In a significant demonstration of unity, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has filed a brief joining RTC's "friend of the court" brief. In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is submitting its own brief supporting the position of the trail.
"This case presents an important opportunity for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to affirm and enforce the legislative policy that provides for the preservation of railroad rights-of-way through interim recreational trail use," says RTC General Counsel Andrea Ferster.
The rail-trail at issue in this case comprises a major portion of the 52.5-mile Armstrong Trail, which begins in Armstrong County and predominantly follows the eastern shore of the Allegheny River northward, finally reaching East Brady in southern Clarion County. In and of itself, it is impressive. As the backbone of larger network, it is absolutely vital.
"The Armstrong Trail is a significant element of the statewide greenway plan for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," says Tom Sexton, director of RTC's northeastern regional office. "It's a vital segment of the Erie-to-Pittsburgh network and would connect with the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage, already a nationally known destination. The trail would be part of a continuous route from New York to Maryland and on to Washington, D.C."
It is the hope of RTC that the Supreme Court will promptly and strongly affirm the ruling of the appellate court, which properly found that the Armstrong Trail is entitled to the protections of the federal Railbanking Law. This trail can then continue to provide valuable recreational and transportation benefits to Pennsylvania while preserving an irreplaceable national asset.
RTC is represented in this case by pro bono counsel Neal Brendel and William Semins with the Pittsburgh office of the law firm of K&L Gates, LLP, and by RTC General Counsel Andrea Ferster.
For more information on RTC's amicus brief, call Katie Test at 202.974.5152 to arrange an interview. For more information on the Armstrong Trail, visit the Armstrong Trail Web site at www.armstrongtrail.org.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.railstotrails.org.