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Keystone College has been awarded a $755,905 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to partner with the Countryside Conservancy on the joint development of a 1.5 mile segment of hiking trail known as the Trolley Trail.

The trail is a critical piece of Countryside Conservancy’s envisioned 14-mile Trolley Trail, a public hiking and biking trail that follows the abandoned Northern Electric Railroad line. The non-motorized multi-use trail will ultimately connect Clarks Summit to Lake Winola. Phase 1 of the Trolley Trail, a three-mile stretch that runs from Clarks Summit to Dalton, was recently completed and has become a popular hiking destination.

The new 1.5 mile Phase 2 section will traverse Keystone’s Woodlands Campus, which currently includes approximately seven miles of interpretive hiking trails. Among other features, the new trail will include fencing, gates, signage, landscaping, erosion and sedimentation control, and designated handicapped parking areas.

The project is a partnership between the Keystone College Environmental Education Institute and Countryside Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting land and water in and near the Tunkhannock Creek watershed.

The grant is one of 56 statewide projects receiving a total of $33 million in federal funding administered through PennDOT. All of the projects are “transportation alternative” initiatives designed to enhance pedestrian and bicycle facilities, improve access to public transportation, preserve historic transportation structures, create safe routes to school, and create pedestrian trail systems.

“We are extremely grateful to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for this important grant,” said Keystone College President Dr. David L. Coppola. “We especially thank all those at the Keystone College Environmental Education Institute and the Countryside Conservancy for their tremendous efforts in obtaining this funding. The trail system on our Woodlands Campus is a great resource for the entire community and the improvements made as a result of this grant, including the extension of the regional trail system, will add to those benefits.”

Photo Caption: Gathering to celebrate the $755,905 PennDOT grant funding, from left: Cheryl Ellsworth, Countryside Conservancy Trolley Trail coordinator; Bill Kern, Countryside Conservancy executive director; Sharon Burke, Keystone College Environmental Education Institute coordinator; Howard Jennings, Keystone College Environmental Education Institute director; and David L. Coppola, Ph.D., Keystone College president.