Land Trail Proposal
The Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC) greenways vision includes a multi-use land trail, the Ohio River Trail (ORT), along the “La Belle Riviere” or the Ohio River and its tributaries from Columbiana County, Ohio to Beaver and Allegheny County, Pa. The ORT was conceived out of the opportunity for connectivity. The ORTC initially proposes a multi-use trail, the Ohio River Trail from the Great Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway via the Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail or the proposed Youngstown & Southern Trail, near East Liverpool, OH and Chester, WV to Beaver Falls, Pa via the Beaver River Trail and to Washington D.C. via the Montour Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) in Moon Township, Pa. and to Pittsburgh, Pa. via the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and to Harrisburg, Pa. via the Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Mainline Greenway and to Erie via the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail. Thus the Ohio River Trail will interlink many of the existing multi-use trails in the tri-state area.
The Ohio River Trail Proposal is comprised of twenty-seven (27) riverfront communities in southwestern Pennsylvania. There are twelve (12) Ohio River North Shore Trail (ORNST) communities: Glasgow, Ohioville, Midland, Industry, Vanport, Beaver, Bridgewater, Fallston, New Brighton, Brighton Township, Rochester and Rochester Township. The Bradys Run Extension and the connection to the Beaver River Rails-to-Trails adds Patterson Township and the City of Beaver Falls, Pa. There are nine (9) Ohio River South Shore Trail (ORSST) communities: Monaca, Center Township, Aliquippa, Hopewell Township, South Heights, Crescent Township, Moon Township, and Coraopolis, Pa. The Robert Morris University Island Sports Center extension adds Neville Township. In addition, the planned expansion of the North Shore, which links to the South shore via the Ambridge and Sewickley Bridges includes the four (4) boroughs of Ambridge, Leetsdale, Edgeworth and Sewickley, Pa.
In addition, the Ohio River Trail Council supports the development of the Chartiers Creek Greenway (CCG) in Allegheny and Washington Counties. The Chartiers Creek Greenway (CCG) is composed of twenty-one (21) communities: Mckees Rocks, Kennedy Twp, Robinson Twp, Thornburg, Crafton, City of Pittsburgh, Rosslyn Farms, Carnegie, Collier Twp, Oakdale, McDonald, Hankey Farms, Heidelberg, Scott Twp, Bridgeville, North Fayette, South Fayette, Upper St. Clair, Cecil Twp, Lawrence and Peters Twp. The Chartiers Creek Greenway will connect over a quarter million residents in the Chartiers Creek Watershed with recreational outdoor activities. An important wildlife corridor, it would provide 48 communities access to a continuous natural green and blue recreational thread. The ORTC also supports the development of the Beaver River Trail and Raccoon Creek Greenway in Beaver County, Pa.
The ORT is part of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area and the Lewis & Clark Trail. The ORT follows parts of the "Great Path" and the Lincoln Highway. The ORT is also being considered for part of the U.S Bicycle Route 50 and part of the Underground Railroad, Pittsburgh spur. The ORT will serve as a key segment in the interconnection of existing land trails in the tri-state area such as the Great Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway, North Coast Inland Trail, North Bend Trail, American Discovery Trail, Brooke Pioneer Trail, Wheeling Heritage Trail, Beaver River Trail, North Country National Scenic Trail, Stavich Trail, Butler-Freeport Trail, Montour Trail, Chartiers Creek Greenway, Panhandle Trail, Three Rivers Heritage Trail, Great Allegheny Passage, Erie to Pittsburgh Trail, and Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Mainline Canal Greenway (Millennium Legacy Trail) thereby creating an interlinked mega-trail system. In addition, the ORT will link to the National Park Service RTCA assisted “Tri-State Trail Initiative” routes in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Whether you bicycle, walk, hike, jog, run, roller blade, fish, bird or butterfly watch, cross-country ski, horseback ride, canoe, kayak or enjoy boating, the Ohio River Trail will improve quality of life by providing fitness and recreation. In addition, the ORT will serve as an important alternative transportation corridor between communities as well as reducing congestion and pollution. The ORTC will ensure access to all, including persons of disability.
The ORTC mission includes the construction of land trails through the reallocation of abandoned rail corridors, bridges, trolley lines, brownfields, utility corridors and canal towpaths. The ORTC encourages additional access to these resources and ensures that these natural areas are afforded protection. The ORT will assist in the protection of plants and animals by preserving sensitive stream corridors and maintaining connections between natural communities.
The beauty of the Ohio River Valley is unmistakable. The valley presents with shady trees, cool creeks and an abundance of wildflowers and wildlife. The Ohio River Valley is a climatic transition area, as its water runs along the periphery of the humid subtropical and humid continental climate areas. It is diverse ecosystem inhabited by fauna and flora of both climates.
The ORTC endorses the revitalization of the natural beauty of the Ohio River and its surroundings, one of Western Pennsylvania’s most important natural resources. Thomas Jefferson stated: "The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth. Its current gentle, waters clear, and bosom smooth and unbroken by rocks and rapids, a single instance only excepted." The ORTC mission includes the conservation of the Ohio River Valley.
ORTC and other Proposed Land Trails & Greenways
1. Ohio River North Shore Trail (ORNST)
- Point of Beginning (OH-PA-WV State Line) to Midland (Great Ohio Lake-to River Greenway)
- Midland to Beaver
- Beaver to Fallston-New Brighton Bridge
- Fallston-New Brighton Bridge to YMCA, Rochester Twp
- Fallston Bridge to Bradys Run Park
- YMCA Rochester Twp to Rochester-Monaca Bridge
- YMCA to Beaver Falls (Beaver River Trail)
- Midland to Shippingport
- Shippingport to Potter
- Shippingport to Georgetown
- Georgetown to Chester WV
- Georgetown to Potter Township (Raccoon Creek Greenway)
2. Ohio River South Shore Trail (ORSST)
- Monaca-Rochester Bridge to South Heights
- South Heights to Crescent
- Crescent to Coraopolis (Montour Trail)
- Extension to the Monaca Water Works/Monaca Boat Launch
- South Heights to Ambridge/Old Economy
- South Heights to Independence Township (Raccoon Creek Greenway)
- Moon Township to Sewickley
- Coraopolis to Neville Island/Robert Morris University Recreation Complex
3. North Shore Extension of the South Shore Trail
- Ambridge to Leetsdale
- Leetsdale to Sewickley
- Monaca to Beaver Falls
- Beaver Falls to New Castle
- New Castle to Youngstown (Stavich Trail)
- Coraopolis to McKees Rocks (Three Rivers Heritage Trail)
- McKees Rocks to Carnegie
- Carnegie to Lawrence (Montour Trail)
- Lawrence to Peters Township (Canonsburg Lake)
- Carnegie to Collier Township (Panhandle Trail)
- Potter Township to Raccoon Township
- Raccoon Township to Independence Township (Raccoon Creek State Park)
- Independence Township - Washington County (Montour Trail)
7. Multi-State Greenways
- Tri-State Greenway - Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
- Ohio River Trail & Greenway - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cairo, Illinois.
Authored by Dr. Vincent Troia, January 2009. Updated June 2010.