Apr. 23—EBENSBURG — Taking a moment to reflect on the process leading to Friday's ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating a trail spur that connects Duman Lake County Park to the C&I Extension of the Ghost Town Trail, Cliff Kitner, noted that the project was an "impossible task."
As the impossible became possible, it became one of the shining moments of his time as the executive director of the Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority.
"It was an impossible task that we took on, that we wanted to take on," Kitner said.
"We felt that this was a very much-needed connection to our Ghost Town Trail. We were able to get done ... All of the people involved with this, this is probably my proudest moment of all the things we've done to build the impossible."
The connection of trail provides access between the C&I Trail Extension of the 46-mile Ghost Town Trail and Duman Lake County Park, where the gathering occurred.
The new trail is 1.7 miles in length and is only accessible from Duman Lake County Park at this time.
Robindale Energy Services donated 1.3 miles of construction that is 10 feet wide with a crushed-stone surface.
The remaining 0.4 miles of single-track trail was completed entirely by volunteers, who were thanked numerous times by speakers during the 45-minute assembly.
"Volunteers put a lot of sweat equity into this project and built a section of this trail," Cambria County President Commissioner Thomas Chernisky said.
"Their hard work helped complete this project."
The official connection of the park to the C&I Trail Extension is nearly complete, with a single bridge and 0.3 miles leaving a slight gap. The CCCRA was recently awarded a $7,500 grant from the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies to refurbish the bridge and complete the short-trail segment of trail to finalize the connection.
The Cambria County system that includes Ghost Town Trail, the Path of the Flood Trail and the Jim Mayer Riverswalk Trail has put the county on the radar of travelers, drawing trail enthusiasts from as far away as Oregon and New Mexico, according to Chernisky.
Tom Kakabar, chairman of the Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority, closed with a message of further progress for the county's trail system thanks to grants obtained from various groups.
The authority has received funds totaling $632,000, working toward the completion of the Ghost Town Loop. The DCNR has pledged a $282,000 grant to the authority. The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies has pledged $100,000 and the Commonwealth Finance Authority has added $249,000. Kakabar noted that those funds alone won't complete the project.
"We've got a ways to get this finished," Kakabar said.