All aboard the Rail Trail

Julie Spierer, Contributing Writer

A beautiful fall afternoon in central Pennsylvania demands the attention of bikers, runners, and walkers alike on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail. The trail lies adjacent to the University’s campus, directly behind Giant Supermarket, and stretches nine miles between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg. The trail is comprised of a newly paved stretch of gravel and asphalt, lined by foliage bursting with color, split-rail fences, and rolling farmlands.

History of the Rail Trail

The route in its entirety follows the Lewisburg, Centre & Spruce Creek Railroad that ran from Centre County through Union County in the 1850s. Saint Patrick’s Day of 1865 brought about a flood that completely destroyed the bridge that ran over the Susquehanna River. This posed a temporary problem because the railroad was no longer able to connect to the eastern side of the river; however, by 1869 locomotives were once again able to traverse these once-destroyed tracks.

In 1879, The Lewisburg, Centre & Spruce Creek Railroad, which would for the next 100 years be known as the Lewisburg & Tyrone Railroad Co., served as an essential transportation network. Over a century later, the year 1892 marked the end of rail operations west of Mifflinburg, and in 1918, the federal Surface Transportation Board granted the Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority with the opportunity to convert the abandoned rail line to a public, community trail.

The establishment of the trail adequately provided a representation for the connection between the towns of Mifflinburg and Lewisburg that once existed. It highlights the importance for non-motorized transportation in order to reduce the quantity of harmful pollutants entering the air. Previously, driving on Route 45 was the only means by which one could travel between the two towns. The trail now provides the community with an alternate route. Most recently, on May 7th, 2016 a new portion of the trail extending from 5th street to 8th Street was opened, representing the newest section of the Rail Trail.

The Rail Trail Today

The Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority (LARA) maintains the trail with the hopes of providing a clean and safe area for people of all ages. LARA aspires to allocate the trail as a beneficial resource for its users, suggesting a wide variety of usages which range from recreational activities to a means of commuting to a leisurely stroll.

Sam Santomartino ’19 recently visited the trail and noted, “The trail is well-paved, and well-maintained.”

On any given day, a trail-goer might encounter other individuals running, walking their dogs, or simply sitting on a bench, enjoying the undeniably beautiful surroundings.

At the entrance of the trail stands a collection of bulletin boards that present a variety of necessary information and fascinating historical recounts. As well as rules and regulations to abide by on the trail, there is a brief historical recount of The Lewisburg, Centre & Spruce Creek Railroad’s transformation into what now exists as the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail.

The trail hosts a variety of annual events, one of which is coming up at the end of the month. The 6th annual Flat ‘N Fast 5K Run/Walk will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 10:00 a.m., and you can pre-register at bvrec.org.

Interested in seeking more information about the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail? You can visit the trail’s website: http://www.bvrt.org/, the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority’s website: bvrec.org, the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail Facebook page, or directly contact the people who have made the trail possible at:
Email- bvrailtrail@bvrec.org
Phone- (570) 524- 4774
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