Story Book Trail

A NEW PERMANENT Story Book Trail is coming to the Sligo Spur of the Redbank Valley Trail near Rimersburg this year. Kelly Minich (left) and Rachel Campbell (right) of the Eccles-Lesher Memorial Library, the organization leading the project, were joined earlier this week at the Route 861 trailhead by trail volunteers John and Diane Corsini, Sandy Traister and Joanne Hosey of the Friends of the Library, and trail association president Sandy Mateer.

RIMERSBURG – After two successful years of offering a Story Walk along the Sligo Spur of the Redbank Valley Trail, officials this week announced that funding has been awarded for a permanent Story Walk in the Rimersburg area.

Representatives of the Eccles-Lesher Memorial Library, Redbank Valley Trails Association and Friends of the Library gathered Tuesday at the trailhead off Route 861 just outside of Rimersburg where the new Story Walk will be constructed.

“With the permanent Story Walk, we’ll be able to change the story,” the library’s children’s librarian Kelly Minich said, noting that in the past, the Story Walks offered along the trail in the Lawsonham area were seasonal and had to be remade each year.

But now thanks to a $7,500 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the library is planning the permanent story walk closer to Rimersburg. It will start at the Route 861 trailhead and continue on the trail toward Route 68 for a half-mile.

The grant will pay for permanent sign boards that will be located at intervals along the trail, each with pages from the story so children and their families can read the story as they hike. The new markers will allow for the story to be changed whenever the library can do so.

“The nice thing about this is once the markers are in, they’re in,” Minich said, adding that the Story Walk will be a great asset for the library, trail and the entire community.

She said Friends of the Library volunteers have stepped up to help with the project, including picking up the new signs from the manufacturer in Gibsonia in order to save on shipping costs.

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If everything goes according to plan, Minich said the new Story Walk should be ready in time for Memorial Day.

A ribbon cutting and program will be held to officially open the Story Walk, she said, and other programs will be held in the area this summer. The Story Walk will also be featured in the library’s annual Summer Reading program this year.

Minich said that while the stories at Lawsonham have attracted visitors from near and far the past two years, the decision to move the Story Walk closer to Rimersburg was made to make it more convenient for families in town, and for the security of the signs themselves.

Just like its counterpart in Lawsonham, the new Story Walk will also include a guest book so that people can sign in to give the library an idea of how many people took part, and where they are from. She said the past Story Walks had folks sign in from as far away as Texas and other out-of-state locations.

“Come out, walk the trails and read a story,” Minich invited. “The whole point is to get more people to read.”

Redbank Valley Trails Association president Sandy Mateer concurred, saying that it’s great to hear about so many out-of-town visitors to the local trail.

“It brings more people to the trail,” she said.