The state of Pennsylvania continues to build upon and improve its already impressive rail-trail network. Millersburg Borough is this week celebrating the news that a "gaming grant," funded by revenue from state-licensed casinos, will fund the continued construction of the Lykens Valley Rail Trail, a planned 20-mile multi-use trail that's been under development for about 10 years.
Just a stone's throw from RTC's Northeast regional office in Camp Hill, the development of this rail-trail along the former Lykens Valley Railroad comes as the residents of nearby Lewisburg begin to calculate the tremendous popularity and impact of the relatively new Buffalo Valley Rail Trail. A recent study by researchers at Bucknell University found that the 9.2-mile trail between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg has the potential to bring an estimated $280,925 annually to recreational business in the area.
The once booming anthracite coal industry in the region left many miles of rail corridor suitable for trail development. A few miles to the east of the Lykens Valley Rail Trail is the rough but ready Swatara Rail Trail; to the south is the Stony Valley Railroad Grade (above). Further afield in every direction are rail-trails of all sizes and styles, boosting hopes of local businesspeople and officials that this neck of the woods will continue to develop a sustainable economy around trails tourism.