Brownfield morphing to trails in region a win-win proposition

A pilot program from the state Department of Environmental Protection presents a win-win proposition for the area.

The program calls for the restoration and repurposing of Brownfield sites and includes remedial work needed to connect walking and bicycle trails in Lycoming County.

These are sites that are not serving much purpose right now.

They are often abandoned mine lands or otherwise damaged properties.

But where our area is concerned, their repurposing would perfectly merge with our region’s sweet spot of outdoor recreation and could have a large, positive impact on walking, running and biking.

The Susquehanna River Walk – which is considered an elite recreational path – starts in Montoursville and extends through Williamsport to Susquehanna State Park.

Plans are to eventually extend the recreational path to connect to the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Jersey Shore, where it continues north along Pine Creek.

Brownfield sites between the trails have been identified.

They pose obstacles for connecting them. The extended route would need to cross Route 15, Interstate 180 and Lycoming Creek.

The DEP Brownfields plan calls for reclaiming these and several other former industrial sites for parks, trails, waterfront development and other uses.

All those uses are an improvement over the present unused and often unkempt status of those lands.

As always, funding is a question moving forward. A number of possible sources have been identified.

Beyond that, as much waste as there is in state government spending, there are probably dollars within the thousands of line items that make it up that could be put to better use.

This idea would qualify.