SAYRE — Valley-goers now have another way to enjoy the local scenery following the opening of the Diahoga Trail on Wednesday.
An opening ceremony and ribbon cutting was held at one of trailheads at Riverfront Park in Sayre near the boat launch area while the other trailhead is located at the Valley Playland in Athens.
“I am very excited,” said Linda Politi from the Diahoga Trail Team. “We are really happy to have this project completed and done. We have been working on it for about seven years now. We had a lot of support from Tina Pickett (R-110), Gene Yaw (R-23) — also the County Commissioners, both boroughs, mayors and councils. We have had a lot of support and we are really happy about that.”
The trail is approximately 1.56 miles in length and runs along the western side of the Susquehanna River from the Athens Bridge on Susquehanna Street to Hayden Street in Sayre. According to Politi, the path is paved with a mixture of aggregate developed by Penn State University specifically for surfacing trails.
Although the trail is now officially open, locals have been walking on the path as it was being constructed over the past year and before that on what was a user-made path. According to Politi, planning for the Diahoga Trail began seven years ago in the spring of 2012. Following the devastating flood in September 2011, FEMA workers organized the Rebuild Athens Steering Committee, later to become the non-profit agency Futurescapes and together they facilitated a series of community-wide meetings.
“Through a community visioning process, residents expressed interest in developing riverfront nature walks and paths that would connect parks and provide access to canoe/kayak launching areas as well as retail stores,” states a press release. “One citizen comment at a community meeting summarized the thrust of the project they envisioned: Take advantage of the waterfront. Our nemesis is also one of our greatest assets.”
The trail team encourages visitors to enjoy the trail and to follow these trail rules: trail hours are from dawn to dusk, an adult should accompany children under the age of 10, stay on designated trail, bikers should maintain a safe speed and yield to pedestrians, pets must be leashed and owners must clean up and properly dispose of waste, and no motorized vehicles, alcoholic beverages or discharge of firearms on the trail.
The trail is open during the winter months, but there will be no snow removal or maintenance.
“I am just really happy for all the people who helped and all the people who have turned out today to support us,” stated Politi.