A Northern Tier trail claimed the Pennsylvania 2023 Trail of the Year title.
The Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge (MJ2KB) Trail in McKean County is a popular fall hiking destination for residents of Northcentral Pennsylvania. This is the second outdoor destination in the region to receive a state award from the DCNR this year: the North Branch of the Susquehanna River was named 2023 River of the Year.
“Trails play an important role in supporting communities across the Commonwealweal, connecting people to nature, recreational opportunities, communities and the history that surrounds them, new businesses and more. Congratulations to the MJ2KB Trail Club for this honor and special thanks for the hard work in supporting and improving this trail,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.
The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee nominates Trail of the Year to help generate enthusiasm and support for trails across the state and to increase public awareness of the value of Pennsylvania’s land and water trail network. Pennsylvania continues its tradition of being a leader in trail development by making more than 12,000 miles of trails available to its citizens and visitors. In an effort to fill in the gaps in this network and make hiking trails available to all, DCNR has made it a goal to have a hiking trail for all Pennsylvanians within 10 minutes.
The MJ2KB Trail is a 7.8-mile section of McKean County’s larger Knox & Kane Rail Trail. The former railway line now offers a level path for walking, jogging, cycling and horseback riding. Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are also popular during the winter months.
The MJ2KB Trail Club, the award winner, works in partnership with the Knox & Kane Rail Trail and Kinzua Bridge State Park. The state park uses the trail section of MJ2KB for year-round nature hikes and natural history events.
The trail highlights the ecological and historical aspects of the area in a series of directional signs posted along the 7.8 miles. The trail features amenities such as pavilions, focused artwork, railroad trestles, and restaurants in close proximity to the railroad trail. The MJ2KB trail is also important to the community, which has used the trail for events such as senior rides, special hikes, bike races, and marathons.
Carolyn Stroup, President of MJ2KB Trail Club, says: “We are very grateful for this prestigious award. This is an honor and a tribute to how well our Trail Club members work as a team. We are excited and look forward to working with DCNR and WeConservePA to provide education that increases community participation in the Knox & Kane Rail Trail and promotes hiking trails in the PA wilderness.”
The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee is tasked with implementing the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Trails Strategic Plan to develop a statewide land and waterway network to facilitate recreation, transportation, and a healthy lifestyle for all. Appointed by the DCNR, the 20-member committee represents both motorized and non-motorized trail users and advises the Commonwealth on the use of state and federal trail funding.
Visit the MJ2KB Trail Club website for more information. ExplorePaTrails provides details on more than 650 hiking trails covering nearly 12,000 miles in Pennsylvania.