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New trail being built around local reservoir

It's taken a little over two years, a lot of fundraisers and plenty of help, but a local reservoir, rich with history, will soon be getting a new hiking trail.

Tucked away in the woods between East Taylor and Jackson Townships is the Hinckston Run Reservoir. It was originally built by Bethlehem Steel in the early 1900s to provide the extra water needed for production. Today it's a serene lake surrounded by wildlife...

"We have every conceivable animal in Pennsylvania believe it or not," said Ron Shawley, director of the Laurel Highlands Historical Village. "We have coyotes; we have black bear and white tail deer."

"You have a view of actually three townships, Jackson, Middle Taylor and East Taylor," said Paulette Baker, secretary for the group. "Then of course you have the reservoir itself. It's a beautiful lake and in the fall it's just breathtaking."

Shawley and Baker both grew up learning to appreciate the outdoors and spent many days at the dam. It prompted them to form the Laurel Highlands Historical Village in 2006 to help preserve the land they grew up to love.

"This is my back yard. For a lot of people who grew up in Johnstown, Hinckston Run has always been a playground," said Shawley. "We're tyring to bring back the idea that here we have the reservoir and it really is a beautiful place to bring the family."

Two years ago the group started to build a hiking and biking trail surrounding the dam. 

"Along the trail we have blue bird houses and have interpretative signs identifying what wildlife is in the forest," said Shawley. 

"I'm the dreamer of the group," said Baker. "This was kind of a dream I had years ago and it's coming to fruition."

The project was expected to take at least four years to complete but with some help from county workers it's looking to be done in just a couple of weeks. 


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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times