By Abigal Peck
The vision of Roz Peck (my mom) helped found the Countryside Conservancy and inspired the creation of the Trolley Trail.
In 1932, the Northern Electric Railroad, which connected the city of Scranton to areas of the surrounding countryside, filed for bankruptcy. In 1945 James Peck (my grandfather) purchased the company and most of the 12-mile right-of-way from Clarks Summit to Lake Winola. In 1979 his son, James Peck Jr. (Jim, my Dad) inherited the railroad. With the acquisition of that right-of-way, the idea of creating a trail that was safe for walking and biking away from traffic and connected the communities along the way began to percolate in Roz’s mind. Jim, an avid outdoorsman and hiker, loved the idea and caught her infectious enthusiasm.
Although her primary dedication was to her family, her second loves were the community and the environment. She grew up here, exploring the woods, riding bikes, and making friends.
Roz was fiercely dedicated to protecting the environment. She watched the rapid encroachment of housing developments and shopping centers disfigure the pastoral fields and woods. This motivated her to help create the Countryside Conservancy in 1994. The Conservancy is protecting our local greenspaces– farms, fields, woods, and wetlands–that make our lives richer with their beauty, fresh air, bird songs, and wildlife.
Although the process of creating the Conservancy and working to accomplish its mission of protecting the land put the idea of a trail on the back burner, Roz never lost sight of the vision of a community trail. She envisioned a place accessible to all: a place to walk through and enjoy the woods; a place for kids to learn to ride bikes without parents having to worry about cars; a place to push strollers, jog, or cross-country ski. The vision was in motion and there was no doubt she would prevail.
Roz knew the truth about connections, both in vision and in relationships: they are never complete. They need constant energy for maintenance, for compromise, for growth, and for innovation. The essential thing is to start. The introduction of an idea is unproductive without the energy to overcome inertia to put it in gear, and the dedication to keep it progressing. After Roz’s death in 2004, the board and members of the Conservancy redoubled their efforts to make the Trolley Trail a reality.
In 2012, the Countryside Conservancy held its groundbreaking for Phase One of the Trolley Trail. In October of 2014, the ribbon (vine) was cut for the official opening of the three miles of Phase One from Clarks Summit to Dalton. Phase Two in LaPlume and Factoryville is close to completion and Phase Three is brewing.
So, come, take some time to walk, together or alone. Take some time to connect with nature, with each other, with yourself, with your kids, with your dog. To meet friends and potential friends along the way.