PHILIPSBURG — The communities of Philipsburg and Snow Shoe now have a special connection, thanks to the work of a dedicated group of volunteers and local politicians. The Snow Shoe Rails to Trails Association and Rush Township supervisors have been working to have several roads in the county legalized for ATV/UTV usage, and all that hard work has come to a head — literally — as construction was recently completed on a trailhead that provides access to the Rails to Trails route connecting Philipsburg and Snow Shoe. The trailhead, located near the Philipsburg Elks Lodge and Country Club, will allow people from Philipsburg and the surrounding areas to load and unload recreation vehicles. Trail volunteers installed sign posts and signage along the trail from the Black Bear Trailhead in Winburne to the new trailhead at PELCC, at no expense to the township. To get it prepared, volunteers worked throughout August, September and October brushing, stoning, signing and creating the connection. According to Trilby Mayes, president of SSRT, the idea behind the trail was to help support local business in Philipsburg, Clarence, Snow Shoe and everywhere in between. Mayes said those using the trail have plenty of nearby options when they arrive in Philipsburg. A new motel — The We Are Inn — will soon open just below PELCC, and Mayes said a gas station and restaurant is also next to the trailhead.
“The Philipsburg Elks Lodge and Country Club serves lunch and great meals and would love to have the ATV rider stop in,” said Mayes.
Executive officers of SSRTA met with the Elk trustees in several meetings to discuss the proposal during June, July and August and came to an agreement to build the new trailhead, an ATV youth training area and about a mile or so of trail connecting to the Philipsburg Elks Lodge & Country Club.
“We also wanted to build a small ATV/ UTV parking lot adjacent to the vehicle parking lot for safety,” said Mayes. “Anyone using this connector would have to be a member of Snow Shoe Rails to Trails.”
Mayes said membership fees helps the group maintain existing trails and roads supported and used by ATV riders.
Yearly memberships are $20 for each motorized unit, as well as $20 for non-motorized users. Corporate sponsorship is also available for $150. Those interested in becoming a member can contact Mayes at (814) 387-6518 or email [email protected].
“Although we have been successful in connecting the trail to Philipsburg, we have not been successful in eliminating the segmented trail around the Viaduct Bridge” near Snow Shoe, Mayes said. “The private property owner did tell us at a meeting in December 2018 that they were not resistant to us making a connection across their property at some point. But now we have received word they are concerned for liability and are not interested in allowing us a connection across their property.
“So, more work needs to be done for a connection to occur,” Mayes continued. “We may have to look at other alternative routes as well.”