North Gettysburg Trail
By Tom Jolin
Healthy Adams Bicycle/Pedestrian Inc. Board Member
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the official opening of North Gettysburg Trail (NGT) I watched two photo shoot delays. Now this is a good sign, I thought. Key officials and employees lined up on the trail for the photo, but had to move off the trail as joggers went through. The second attempt also failed, as a fast-moving walker approached, causing another dispersion. A quick third line-up finally produced the photo.
The NGT gets a lot of use and is making a difference in our community’s health and quality of life. It was built on a very limit space, using resourceful thinking. It goes from the Gettysburg Borough limits about one mile out to Gettysburg High School (GHS).
When the high school was built in 1999, there was no safe way to walk or bicycle to the new high school. That changed with the NGT, a real community upgrade. Who do we have to thank for this blessing? It took some amazing cooperation between various legal entities: Adams County, Gettysburg Borough, Straban Township, Cumberland Township, and Gettysburg National Military Park. All these entities had a say.
The trail’s fruition is a testament to good government cooperation and the vision and persistence of our elected officials. The trail gets a lot of use from people enjoying a stroll out to the high school, as well as joggers and bicyclists. Personally, I enjoy the sight of young children and moms with strollers.
How did the engineers, CS Davidson, manage to design it so that it to fit on the limited right of way? It wasn’t easy. They moved the bicycle portion on to street bike lanes, and built a narrow macadam side path for walkers. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Success brings success. Recently, the Gettysburg Area School District paved a connector to the actual buildings. Now, students and citizens can get to classes, sporting events, and concerts at the high school. One of our county commissioners told me of a GHS football player bicycling to practice at the high school via the NGT. It was safe. In fact, he was wearing all his football padding, including his helmet. I’m sure his coach approved of his extra conditioning effort.
Adams County, like any area, is fighting back against the obesity health epidemic. Thanks to this trail, folks get a good workout while enjoying life.