Key Stories

Setting the Stage

Founding the Rails to Trails Conservancy – When David Burwell, I and several other hikers, bicyclists and environmentalists began holding brown-bag lunches in Washington, D.C. to talk about the visionary concept of rails-to-trails, back in the early 1980s, the idea
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Ohiopyle State Park Section

The 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage began as a nine-mile stretch in Ohiopyle State Park, a natural wonderland in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands offering all-year outdoor recreation. The park’s popular whitewater rafting trips through the scenic Youghiogheny River Gorge continually attract thousands … Read More >

Somerset County Section

We have people who sign in at either the train station in Meyersdale or in Rockwood at the little visitor center. They’re from all over the country and some globally. Did I ever think that would happen? Absolutely not. Read More >

Gaps in the GAP: The Impossible 9-Mile Section


On a foggy early July morning in 2010, dozens of people stood along the banks of the Monongahela River outside Pittsburgh waiting to witness a feat of engineering and determination. Two cranes, almost 2-miles apart, were about to lift … Read More >

Point Made!

Point Made! Celebration – June 15, 2013

February 14, 2013

I would like to invite you back to Pittsburgh for a very special event. After 35 years of work by hundreds of volunteers, support from dozens of communities, and millions … Read More >

West Newton Station Visitor Center


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Meyersdale Railroad Museum & Visitor Center


When the Western Maryland Railway was being constructed in 1910, the railroad’s real estate agent promised he would build “the finest station between Cumberland and Connellsville” if the town fathers would grant permission to build the railroad through Meyersdale. Read More >

Rail Corridors Repurposed

Western Maryland (WM) and the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O)

Key to the building of the Great Allegheny Passage was the Western Maryland Railway Connellsville Extension (WM) which was built from Cumberland to Connellsville.

The WM was built in 1912, over … Read More >

Naming the Great Allegheny Passage & Branding the GAP Logo



Rail trail groups formed all along the corridor and it became apparent that a continuous trail was possible from Pittsburgh to Cumberland to Washington, DC. A Trail Summit was held in September, 1995. The consensus of the Summit … Read More >

Watershed Moments

Linda Boxx:

Geist added a $10 million line item to the state capital budget for general trail development for the ATA and a $6 million line item specifically for the Big Savage Tunnel costs.[10] In 1997, the trail project … Read More >

GAP Interpretive Signage

The Interpretative Concept Plan for the GAP


The stories the GAP tells:  George Washington’s travels, Queen Aliquippa’s camp, railroad structures, the Industrial Revolution, fossil quarries telling of pre-historical Pennsylvania, and so much more.

When the Allegheny Trail Alliance was … Read More >

Delta Development Group

In building a trail system, especially one as grand as the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), trailbuilders had to gather many resources to see the trail through to completion—the most critical being money. Securing vital funding required professionals at the state … Read More >

Pittsburgh 250th Celebration

“We had also created funding to help get the Hot Metal Bridge constructed. But, there was no route; there was no corridor. And, we didn’t know how we were going to get from Point A – being McKeesport – to Read More >

Keystone Iron & Metals: The Great Wall

One of the final connections needed to complete the Great Allegheny Passage’s continuous path from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. was the route through the Keystone Iron & Metals property in Homestead. The company, owned by the Thompson family, had given a … Read More >

Yough River Trail North Section

The stretch of tracks between Connellsville and McKeesport, which had ferried coal, coke, and various other industrial products through the Youghiogheny Valley, laid dormant like old bones from a once-ferocious beast. The once-thriving coal and coke industry had come and … Read More >

Maryland GAP Section

The origins of the Western Maryland Railway (WM) are connected to the historical importance of coal in this region of Maryland and Pennsylvania. During the mid-1800s the demand for coal escalated due to the industrial needs of iron furnaces and … Read More >

Montour Trail Council (MTC)

The Montour Trail Council is an original member of the Allegheny Trail Alliance (ATA) and has since partnered with other trails in the Pittsburgh region. Established in 1989, the Montour Trail Council envisioned a trail along the Montour Railroad right-of-way, … Read More >