Runners have a trail map for Harborcreek Park


to play

Six Mile Creek Park in Harborcreek Township may become a new destination for mountain bikers.

An effort is underway to establish mountain bike trails in the township-owned 400+ acre wooded park in the 7700 block of Clark Road, south of Interstate 90.

Wesleyville resident Joe Tomasik, with help from the Northern Allegheny Mountain Bike Association of Warren, approached the township about the project. Harborcreek Supervisor Steve Oler said the Township Parks and Recreation Council will hear a presentation on bike paths at the Parks Commission meeting on June 21 at 6 p.m. at the municipal building, 5601 Buffalo Road. If the board passes the draft, supervisors could vote at their July 7 meeting, Oler said.

“I think it would be great for the park as long as it can be done in a safe way,” he said.

Oler, who is the parks supervisor, added that although he met the group at Six Mile Creek Park, supervisors did not approve the project and no work was done there to establish trails. for mountain biking. He said the trail developers are preparing a memorandum of understanding and will make a presentation for the parks council this month. He said Tomasik first approached the township about mountain biking trails in mid-April.

“It’s all at the discussion stage at this point,” Oler said.

Most trails would be multi-use

Tomasik said that while some sections of the trail will be reserved for bicycles and others for pedestrians, most will be multi-purpose, with hikers and cyclists allowed on the same trails.

He said having mountain biking there would be good for cyclists who want to stay local, provide another resource for people to get outside and have a positive effect on the local economy. He also said efforts would be made not to harm the environment, including limiting the miles of cycle paths per acre. He called mountain bikers “trail trails”.

“Mountain bikers are a lot like hunters,” he said. “We are here to protect the earth.

It’s electric: Lake Erie e-bikes open in colony stores

Some people in the Erie County mountain biking community used to cycle in the park in the late 1990s and early 2000s when he was in the county, Tomasik said. He said some “renegade paths” still exist there but could use repairs.

Harborcreek acquired Six Mile Creek Park in 2011 from Erie County and created community access and parking, according to the township website. The park also has a quarter-mile handicapped accessible and scenic vantage point trail and other trails. The park’s namesake, Six Mile Creek, runs through it, “providing hikers and photographers with great views to enjoy,” the website says at

Tomasik said some mountain biking trails exist elsewhere in the Erie area, including Mount Pleasant of Edinboro. He would resent Six Mile Creek Park that is comparable to what he calls “the high quality, sustainable trails we travel on.”

He said local runners were heading for these trails at Jakes Rocks in the Allegheny National Forest or near Cleveland and Pittsburgh or in Chautauqua County, New York. Some of those cyclists would like to keep their bikes and cash closer to home and establishing trails in Harborcreek Park would allow that, he said.

The trails offer an escape: The ski resort offers pleasant walks in the off-season

It offers 12 miles to 16 miles of mountain bike trails for the park with levels ranging from beginner to advanced.

“It would be for everyone,” said Keith Martin, president of the Northern Allegheny Mountain Bike Association.

He said his non-profit organization was working with Tomasik, whom he described as a local volunteer, to try to get mountain bike trails in the park. Those near the parking lot would be for beginners, with trails further out of the parking lot for intermediate cyclists. Trails for advanced riders would be across a gorge, Martin said.

NAMBA’s goal is to “promote responsible and safe practices in environmental conservation, trail construction, trail maintenance and horseback riding,” according to its website at www.ridenambapa .org.

Tomasik said NAMBA and other guidelines would be followed for safety related to trail width, sightlines and slopes, and for the prevention of environmental damage.

Oler said a concern that needs to be addressed is ensuring hikers have line of sight and the right of way so no one is hurt.

Spin your wheels: Cyclefest returns this summer with a new format and new sponsors

The trail plan could increase local tourism

Creating trails at Harborcreek could also attract more people here for recreation and have an economic effect on local businesses, Tomasik said.

“Mountain bikers, when they travel, spend money,” he said.

But the township has no money to spend on such trails.

Oler said he made it clear to trail developers that Harborcreek is on a tight budget and that while he can make the park available for the project, his organizers would have to provide the manpower and expense. necessary to make the trails possible.

Martin said members of his group are ready to work and grants and donations could be sought, although the money is yet to be accepted.

Tomasik said if Harborcreek supervisors approved the trails on July 7, work could begin almost immediately.

Opposition to Warren County mountain bike trail plan

There has been some opposition to efforts to create mountain bike trails in another community in northwestern Pennsylvania.

In Warren, plans to add six miles of mountain bike trails and a skill trail to 65-acre Washington Park are under consideration. The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission is due to hear a presentation on Tuesday, Member Kirk Johnson said.

He said he would vote against any development plans, including mountain bike trails, in the park he would prefer to have as a nature reserve.

Johnson said mountain biking on hiking trails and public lands has exploded in recent years. While responding to Washington Park’s proposal as a citizen of Warren and a member of the commission, he is also executive director of Friends of Allegheny Wilderness, which works for increased protection of nature in the Allegheny National Forest. .

His organization opposed a 2015 effort to allow mountain biking on hiking trails in the Tracy Ridge area of ​​the forest. He said mountain biking on hiking trails was not compatible and wheeled vehicles would have compromised the area’s wilderness designation. He said the Forest Service ultimately pulled this project out.

In the woods: The number of visitors is on the rise in the Allegheny National Forest, but so are the number of fires

However, Friends of Allegheny Wilderness supported the mountain bike trails at Jakes Rocks in the forest.

“I am not against mountain biking and our organization is not against mountain biking,” Johnson said.

He said mountain bikers should have places to cycle, but some places should not be open to them and others should remain natural. He said there were concerns about cyclists entering trails that are not intended for bicycles and concerns about e-bikes whose speed could make them unsafe on the trails.

Johnson said he was unfamiliar with Six Mile Creek Park and had no formal position on establishing mountain bike trails there.

Contact Dana Massing at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @ETNmassing.


Comments are closed.