Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Ironton Rail Trail turning 20 June 12 event begins with 5-K walk/run

Thursday, June 9, 2016 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

The Ironton Rail Trail (IRT) will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a ribbon cutting June 12 on its trail that extends into North Whitehall Township. Also featured are a 5-K walk/run and exhibits. The ceremony will follow the race.

Officials from Coplay Borough and Whitehall and North Whitehall townships are expected to participate in the program. State Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-18th, and state Sen. Pat Browne, R-16th, also will attend.

Heralded as one of the finest trails in Pennsylvania, which is dotted with numerous historic sites and crossings through towns and scenic settings, IRT became a reality in 1996 through the efforts of then Whitehall Township Executive Mike Harakal, who is expected to be present for the program.

Picking up the mantle of construction, improvements and maintenance of the trail is the Ironton Rail Trail Oversight Commission, whose many members have been involved in IRT from the beginning.

Walkers will start the 5-K walk 9:30 a.m., followed by runners 10 a.m., near the North Whitehall recreation area.

Numerous benches and trees dedicated by individuals to family members or others dot IRT. And 56 Eagle Scout projects add to the grandeur of the trail, which extends for 9.2 miles.

The new North Whitehall trail will have a trail head at the end of IRT, according to Ray Bieak, IRT board secretary. The major trail head is in Stiles, off Chestnut Street, near the Ironton Railroad’s restored caboose.