NEW BETHLEHEM – The Redbank Valley Trails Association (RVTA) cancelled its regular monthly meeting; however, its donation challenge is still in effect throughout the month of December.

For the third year in a row, the challenge has been advanced, this time with two anonymous donors and a total of $ 7,500 pledged to match any contributions made during the month.

Counting toward the challenge are memberships for 2018, new or renewal, as well as donations to build benches, tables or small bridges which can be named in honor or memory of someone. Such fixtures can be utilized as Christmas gifts.

Projects ongoing include improving the ramps at Middle Run, between Alcola and Fairmount City on the main rail-banked corridor; the addition of more historic markers; the re-application of crushed limestone; the addition of more parking and signage; and completion of the Sligo Spur, a nine-mile portion of the rail corridor which branches off at Lawsonham.

The main 41-mile railroad passage, laid out in 1846 but not constructed until the 1870s by the Allegheny Valley Low Grade Railroad, is anchored near the village of Red Bank on the Allegheny River on the southwestern end and by Brookville on the northeastern terminus and includes three tunnels.

There is a continual need for maintenance addressing drainage issues as well, involving placement or replacement of culverts, clearing ditches and more.

Allegheny Valley Land Trust (AVLT) is the owner of the entire trail since 2010 when the line, held in the rail-bank system, was deeded to them by the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad and a private company for the Sligo portion.

RVTA was established that same year working closely with AVLT and anticipating the transfer of operations at some point in the future to their care.

Those wishing to participate in the donation challenge, which ends Dec. 31, should make checks payable to the RVTA which is a 501©3 organization.

Checks can be mailed, or hand-delivered, to RVTA at Northwest Savings Bank, 301 Broad Street, New Bethlehem, PA 16242.

Payment through PayPal can be done by visiting www.redbankvalleytrails.org.

The next meeting of the RVTA will be held a week later than the usual first Monday of the month due to the New Year’s holiday. It is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Presbyterian Church in Brookville.

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