New Bald Eagle Valley Trail Fest features 5k walk/run, baking contest
By Karen Elias
The wonders of the PA Wilds — its numerous creeks and rivers, its lush forests — are sometimes marred by refuse that’s been carelessly dumped without regard for the landscape. CleanScapes, a nonprofit serving both Clinton and Lycoming Counties, has been organizing community members for 20 years in an ongoing clean-up effort to restore this area’s natural beauty.
Eighteen of the 127 clean-up events held by CleanScapes over the past 20 years have taken place on what is now the Bald Eagle Valley Trail (BEVT). Running along the scenic Bald Eagle Creek and the West Branch Susquehanna River, an area favored by bald eagle pairs that build their nests there, the BEVT offers a pleasant flat-planed, crushed-stone pathway for biking or hiking. The trail, which is being created in six phases, is a project of Clinton County Government and its partners and will cover 11.5 miles from Castanea to Jersey Shore, eventually connecting up with the popular 62-mile Pine Creek Rail Trail, one of the premier rail trails in the Northeast. CleanScapes recognized the BEVT’s potential years ago and paved the way, through its clean-up efforts, for its current development.
(Photo descriptions: Top two images show CleanScapes volunteers pulling man-made debris from what is today the Bald Eagle Valley Trail. Bottom image shows two individuals riding bikes on the Bald Eagle Valley Trail; provided by the Clinton County Visitors Bureau.)
A celebration of stewardship
CleanScapes plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary as well as draw attention to the most recent addition to the Trail — a 3.4-mile segment between Castanea and McElhattan — by hosting its first-ever Bald Eagle Valley Trail Fest on March 28th.
Beginning and ending at the Castanea Fire Company in McElhattan, the celebration will include a timed 5K walk / run for anyone 10 or older.
Unlike the more grueling, highly anticipated races that Clinton County is becoming known for (such as the Frozen Snot, Boulder Beast, and Hyner Challenge), this trail run is on level ground, on a former rail bed, and so avoids steep inclines and rugged terrain. For families interested in an opportunity to welcome spring by getting out of the house after a long winter, the Trail Fest offers a leisurely family-friendly event. For more seasoned runners, the event can serve as a pleasant warmup, in anticipation of more strenuous races later in the year.
The event will offer another way to welcome spring. Interested participants will be given native plant seeds that can be spread in designated areas along the trail throughout the run. This effort will beautify the trail and help to attract pollinators, enhancing the attractiveness of the area.
And as an additional added attraction, the Trail Fest will include a carrot-cake bake-off contest and auction. Open to everyone, including folks who are not participating in the 5K, the judges will evaluate cakes (made by adults, amateur or professional) and cupcakes (made by youth and teens). Named after a couple who have been staunch supporters of CleanScapes for years, the 2020 Brenda & Don Lysle Carrot Cake And Cupcake Competition will offer another fun outdoor community activity for the region. Cakes will be auctioned off following the event.
The Trail Fest is being spearheaded by CleanScapes’ project director Elisabeth Lynch McCoy, who has served in that role since 2004. She plays a key role in identifying and coordinating projects, as well as administering programming. A graduate of Lock Haven University, earning her degree in Environmental Geology, Elizabeth is passionate about building community connections and strengthening established partnerships within the Pennsylvania Wilds region. CleanScapes has partnered with Lock Haven University, for example, since 2008, connecting especially with LHU Athletics and the LHU MountainServe/VISTA program.
She is pleased that, over the past 20 years, CleanScapes has been so successful. The organization has trained 4,680 volunteers, held 127 clean-up events, and collected 1,220 tons of litter, 13,415 tires, and 23 tons of scrap metal. CleanScapes makes every effort to recycle or reuse. “The tires are taken to the landfill,” she states, “and they are then shipped to New York to be made into crumb rubber. Or they remain at the landfill and are used to hold down the huge tarps that line the sides of the area where the trash is landfilled.”
TRAIL FEST DETAILS
The run / walk will start at the Castanea Fire Company, 111 McElhattan Ave., Lock Haven, at 10 am on March 28th.
- Those who pre-register for the 5k by March 25 at noon will receive a meal, a branded canvas tote made in Lycoming County, and native plant seeds to disperse along the trail. Day-of registration will begin at 9 a.m.
- Registrations for the baking competition are required by noon on March 25. No day-of registrations available for this contest.
For more information or to download the event flyers, go to www.CleanScapes-NCPA.com.
*Editor’s Note: This is a time-sensitive event taking place in the Pennsylvania Wilds and this article was published prior to the event.
About the Author
Karen Elias, retired after 40 years of teaching college English, is now working as a freelance writer and environmental advocate in Lock Haven. She recently completed training to become a Climate Reality leader and is using her writing to increase both awareness of our precious natural resources and support for environmental sustainability.
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