March News along the Great Allegheny Passage

With wide-open spaces, the GAP is a great place to explore the outdoors.  It's made possible by volunteers from end to end.  Plan your trip with TrailGuide, and get out there this spring.

Update on Traveling the GAP Safely and Supporting Local Businesses  
The Great Allegheny Passage remains open for exercise and exploration, and we affirm guidelines for safe outdoor recreation as outlined in a joint statement set by the National Recreation and Park Association, namely:
  • Refrain from using parks or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Follow the Center for Disease Control's guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails.
  • Prepare for limited access to public restrooms or water fountains.
  • While on trails, warn other users of your presence and as they pass, and step aside to let others pass.
  • Follow CDC guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings including outdoor picnicking, pick-up sports and other group hangouts, and maintain proper physical distance at all times.
  • Observe CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other individuals at all times. If this is not possible, users should find an alternate location or depart that space.
  • Consult your local and state ordinances and guidelines for the most up to date recommendations on park and trail use.
We also suggest picking an uncrowded trail access point to reduce proximity to other trail users, and carrying and using hand sanitizer.  Our friends at Bicycling Magazine also have suggestions for responsible riding during the coronavirus outbreak.

The hundreds of trail-facing small businesses in Pennsylvania and Maryland that cater to GAP travelers like you are feeling awfully squeezed as tourists react to the public health crisis we're facing.  Yet many restaurants have pivoted to carry-out and delivery services (eat under a tree or in a public park!), bike shops along the GAP still make repairs, and lodging properties are open for guests.  Please be generous, and consider similar suggestions from Sustainable Connections.

If you have a spring trip planned, would you check in with your hosts and check the hours of current amenities in their trail town?  Consider booking an additional weekend for the summer or fall -- and treating yourself by hiring a trip-planner and/or shuttle service, or staying an extra night to help a small business owner.  Today, buy a trail town restaurant gift card online and save it for another trip.  Or ask the owner to pass it on to local folks who are temporarily out of work.  Looking for a local entrepreneur to support?  Pick up a copy of TrailGuide at our website.

Please note that the West Newton Visitor Center is temporarily closed out an abundance of caution, and that while Ohiopyle State Park's campgrounds, restrooms, and visitor centers are closed for the time being, the GAP and the park's hiking trails and waterways are open to the public.      

BIg Savage Tunnel is Open for Travelers

A skeleton crew of volunteers from the Somerset County Recreation and Trails Association carefully opened the Big Savage Tunnel last week, allowing travelers to hike or bicycle freely between Meyersdale and Frostburg after the tunnel's normal winter hiatus.  Custom-made doors on both ends of this former Western Maryland Railway tunnel keep the ceiling from damage due to severe freeze-and-thaw cycles.    

Summer Date Set for 2020 GAP Relay

Get your group signed up for this year's 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage Relay!  Sponsored by UPMC Health Plan and operated by P3R, this team running event is scheduled for June 19-20, 2020, starting in Pittsburgh and ending with a party in Cumberland, Md.

Find out more at

Copyright © 2020 Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.