By Michael Williamson
Member of Glenburn Township Planning Commission
The Countryside Conservancy Trolley Trail is a testament to the belief that perseverance eventually pays off. The trail is the culmination of a vision and dedicated work by many volunteers and a few staff members of the Conservancy over a period of time that exceeds 20 years. Roz Peck and a few starry-eyed dreamers had this plan to attempt to convert many portions of the abandoned Northern Electric Railway into a recreational trail from the Abingtons to Lake Winola and beyond. The majority of the completed trail today runs through Glenburn Township where I served as supervisor for 10 years in the 1990s and 2000s. Our governing board would always try to assist Roz and the Conservancy to the best of our ability, but we couldn’t help thinking that this was a pipe dream at best.
The Trolley Trail is not a typical rails- to-trails project where there are miles and miles of abandoned train tracks easily ready for a straightforward conversion. The original Trolley Trail now winds through swamps, backyards, Little League baseball fields, public roads, and all sorts of personal property. Due to all of the development since the 1930s, the challenge has been immense to attempt to connect the trail from the Clarks Summit/South Abington border to Lake Winola and Nicholson. Yet, the dedicated volunteers and staff continue to soldier on with the plan of connecting this grand old railway and the communities that it served.
So, it gives me lots of pleasure to see the original phase through Glenburn to the Dalton border completed and being utilized by so many of our residents. In addition, there has been historical signage added recently, which enhances the experience even more. Also, in the next month a second phase of the trail through Keystone College to downtown Factoryville will be completed.
This is truly a great asset and amenity for our neighbors in Lackawanna and Wyoming counties, all because of a starry-eyed dreamer and a corps of dedicated friends who never gave up on their vision.