There are still sections that need completed to finish the Indian Creek Valley Trail from Route 31 to the Youghiogheny River—a full 19 miles of what remains of the abandoned Indian Creek Valley Railroad. Last summer MWA completed the ICV Gorge portion, a 4 mile long walk past the Indian Creek reservoir and through a heavily forested, steep-sided gorge that ends where Indian Creek pours into the Yough. Our next trail completion project lies north of Route 381, and will be accessible from the Gorge parking area. That project is the Steyer Bridge, a 140 foot long railroad bridge across Indian Creek, and the trail that takes you to it.
Located within property owned by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC), the path is approximately six tenths of a mile long and was used as a road for logging trucks, and in turn still has a decent surface. It features easy access to calm waters in Indian Creek along almost the entire length that’ll make it a great resource for fishing and other stream activities when it is finished. Both sides of this trail allow public access to the forest and stream on MAWC property, so there’s plenty of space to explore! You might also want to bring your camera, because upon reaching the Steyer Bridge you’ll be greeted by a rare, wide and clear view of Indian Creek both upstream and downstream.
In addition to adding decking and railing to the Steyer Bridge, the trail itself needs a gravel surface, has several areas that require drainage and regrading, and has a temporary round culvert crossing over an unnamed tributary to Indian Creek that needs completely removed and replaced since it’s restricting stream flow causing upstream erosion of the banks. Instead of the current 2 round culverts that the crossing consists of, it will be replaced by a permanent, flat-bottomed “D” shaped culvert that will open up the streambed of the unnamed tributary, once again allowing free flow of water and ample fish passage.
Like other portions of the trail, this is a large project and in turn requires a large amount of funding. Making the Steyer Bridge safe for walking/biking will cost an estimated $90,000 and the work needed to improve the trail and replace the temporary stream crossing is estimated to cost $240,000 on top of that. MWA is actively seeking funding resources to cover the costs of both of these facets of the project. If you’d like to donate to either the Steyer Bridge completion or the trail leading up to it we would truly appreciate the help in reaching these goals. Every bit brings us closer to improving this portion of the ICV trail and takes us one step closer to connecting that 19 miles!
*In the dropdown menu on the Donation site, please select “Steyer Bridge – ICV Trail”