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Murrysville Parks
+ Park/Reserve Summary
+ Bear Hollow Park
+ Bear Hollow Trail
+ Duff Park
+ Kellman/Skena Reserves
+ M. C. P.
+ Pleasant Valley Park
+ Sardis Park
+ Townsend Park

Westmoreland Conservancy Reserves
+ Caywood Reserve
+ Flinn Reserve
+ King Reserve
+ McGinnis Reserve
+ Morosini Reserve
+ Potter's Corner
+ Tomer Reserve
+ Walter Reserve

Cross-Murrysville Routes

Turtle Creek Rail Trail Project

Trails Beyond Murrysville

Outdoors Related Sites

Past Trail Activities

Please email if you would like to post a summary or photos
from any trail-related activity
or event in or around Murrysville.
We welcome your submissions!

December 15, 2012 Pleasant Valley Hike

Hikers at PV
  Several people and three dogs met at Pleasant Valley Park for a hike led by Susan Karas and Buzz Wichman. While hiking people admired the new trail built by the PV Trailbuilders and the new bench in the park, and after hiking enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies and Christmas music. Thanks to Susan and Buzz and everyone who helped for a great 2012 series of hikes!  
PV HIkers in Woods
Cheeky Chipmunk Trail SignNew Bench at PVAfter Hike at PV

November 17, 2012 Cross-Murrysville Hike

  November 2012 Cross-Murrysville Hike
  Several people met for a cross-Murrysville hike, led by Susan Karas and Buzz Wichman, and enjoyed a beautiful day.

October 22, 2012 Book Donation to Library

The MTA donated books to the Murrysville Community Library:
  • Trail Book 2012-13, Great Allegheny Press (the official guide to the Great Allegheny Passage and the C & O Canal Towpath, 335 miles from Washington DC to near Pittsburgh, with maps and photos and information on 15 key trail towns)
  • A Hiker’s Guide to the Laurel Highlands Trail, PA Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Western PA Conservancy

October 13, 2012 Hike in Townsend Park

  Hikers in Townsend Park

On the morning of October 13th several people met for a hike through Townsend Park, led by Kim Clemons and Ed Gerstenhaber.
(Photo courtesy of Tom Ronksley)


September 15, 2012 Duff Park Hike

Several hikers met at 9 am for a 5 mile hike through Duff Park.
  9/15/12 MTA HikeDuff Park bench for Dave Mottorn


August 18, 2012 Murrysville Community Day

  A group of cyclists started early with a 30-mile ride from MCP's wetlands.
2012 Community Day Bike Ride
  2012 Community Day Bike Ride
  MTA booth at 2012 Community Day
MTA booth at 2012 Community Day   Throughout the day many people stopped by the MTA booth for trail and park information.

August 10, 2012 Ready, Set, Run! 5K

Participants of Murrysville Recreation's Ready, Set, Run program gathered at MCP for a 5K run, culminating twice-weekly training sessions covering running techniques, form, exercise, games, healthy lifestyles, and good sportsmanship.

8/10/12 Ready, set, run! 5K

April 21, 2012 Hike Murrysville

At 9 AM some 30 - 40 intrepid hikers walked out of the shelter of Townsend Park's Lower Pavilion into pouring rain and on to a five mile hike across town to Murrysville Community Park. The rain soon slowed and the hikers enjoyed miles of woods broken only by three road crossings. About a third of the hikers walked BACK five miles as well, completing a ten mile hike.

Before hikeRainy departure
A rainy start
Along CrowfootAlong CrowfootAlong CrowfootAlong Crowfoot
hiking along Crowfoot
Along CrowfootAlong CrowfootPause during hike
in rain, rain, and finally a break
HikeAt MCP Wetlands
passing through woods and over fields
At MCP WetlandsAt MCP Wetlands
to reach the MCP wetlands
(Photos courtesy of Buck Skena and Buzz Wichmann)

Route map for Hike Murrysville

Thanks from the hike committee:

Brien Palmer
Mark Emerson
Susan Karas
Buck Skena
Jackie Stempfer
Betsy Aiken

to everyone who helped:

Tom Dittman
Tony & Bev Formato
Ed Gerstenhaber
Jeff Hawkins
Dave & Val Landsperger
Grace Lincoln
Dave Puskarich
Tom Ronksley
Terri Rosen
Lisa Rossi
Shelly Tichy
Dorothy West
Buzz Wichmann
Terri Wubben
   and .....

  Ursa Jersey Boatin' Edward  
  Ursa Jersey


April 2012 Preparations for Hike Murrysville

Susan Karas and Ursa check hike routeBuzz Wichman refreshing a trail blazeEd Gerstenhaber and Jersey checking a trail route

In anticipation of the April 21 Hike Murrysville, several members
of the Murrysville Trail Alliance and Westmoreland Conservancy
worked during April to check the hike route and refresh blazes.
Pictured are Susan Karas and Ursa, Buzz Wichman,
and Ed Gerstenhaber and Jersey.

December 2011 MCP Trail Work

In December several peopleworked to build
a horse trail at MCP.
Thank you to our
hard working trail builders:

Christine Malits Cafazzo
Marlene Campas
Tom Dittman
Jeanne Drennan
Jason Galley*
Diana Lewis
Joey Pawlowski*
Dana Shondelmyer
John Shondelmyer
Mike Sklencar

Michael Valeri
Nicole Valeri and Mack
Betsy Aiken

*participation sponsored
by Laurie Gredence

MCP Horse Trail crewMCP Horse Trail building
MCP Horse Trail buildingMCP HOrse Trail building
MCP Horse Trail buildingMCP Horse Trail crew

December 2011 Bench for Dave Mottorn

Bill Davis and Tom Dittman installing bench for Dave Mottorn
Bill Davis and Tom Dittman while installing bench for Dave Mottorn Pia van de Venne and Amanda Mottorn during installation of bench for Dave Mottorn

November 2011 MTA Book Donations

The MTA donated several trail and nature books to the Murrysville Community Library:

Community Trails, by the Brandywine Conservancy
Fifty Hikes in Western Pennsylvania, by Tom Thwaites
Hike Pennsylvania, by John Young
Teaching Kids to Love the Earth, by Marina Lachecki Herman, et al

November 6, 2011 Cyclocross Race at MCP

Spectators at the November 6, 2011 Cyclocross Race
at Murrysville Community Park watched over 100
contestants race
on an unusually
bright and
sunny day.
(photo by
Betsy Aiken)

Cyclocross at MCP

November 3, 2011 Book Donation

Book donation to honor Dave Mottorn On November 3rd, 2011 friends and family of Dave Mottorn assembled for the MTA's donation of the Appalachian Mountain Club's Complete Guide to Trail Building and Maintenance to the Murrysville Community Library
in Dave's memory.
(photo by Theo van de Venne)

July 9, 2011 Duff Park Tree Walk

On Saturday, July 9, Loree Speedy of the Botanical Society of Western PA led several people on a tree walk through Duff Park. Walkers enjoyed learning about the park's trees and ferns, and made use of several of the park's excellent new tree identification signs. This walk was one of the 2011 walks hosted by Friends of Murrysville Parks.

Luna moth fresh from coccoon seen in Duff ParkLuna moth fresh from coccoon seen in Duff Park, photo #2Non-flash photo of luna moth seen in Duff Park, showing truer color

June 25, 2011 Trail Building Appreciation
Hike and Cookout at Pleasant Valley Park

Entrance sign at PV Park On Saturday, June 25, Pittsburgh Hiking Group members and volunteers who built trails at Pleasant Valley Park met at the park for an evening hike and cookout. Everyone expressed their appreciation for the great trails built by Joe Galvin, the PV Volunteers and 4-H Conservation Club, and many trail building volunteers.

Cookout Cookout at PV Park Cookout at PV Park
Decorated Trash Bin at PV Park

June 18, 2011 Inaugural Hike
of Don Harrison Community Trail

On Saturday, June 18, the Westmoreland Conservancy hosted an inaugural hike of the 5-mile long Don Harrison Community Trail. Don and Mary Harrison participated in the dedication ceremony, and 24 people participated in the hike, with many hiking the full 5 mile length of the trail and a few also making the return 5 mile hike.

Photo of Don and Mary Harrison at dedication of Don Harrison Community Trail
Don and Mary Harrison
at trail dedication
(photo by Shelly Tichy)
The Don Harrison Community Trail (DHCT) extends from the Westmoreland Conservancy's Walter Nature Reserve and Murrysville Community Park through three other Westmoreland Conservancy reserves, the Sloan School property and the Sardis Road municipal complex to connect to Townsend Park. The DHCT is the result of sustained efforts over several years by the Westmoreland Conservancy, and cooperative effort by the municipality, Franklin Regional School District, other landowners, and the Boy Scouts.

Photo of 6/18/11 hike of Don Harrison Community Trail
Participants in inaugural hike of 5 mile Don Harrison Community Trail in Murrysville
(photo by Shelly Tichy)

May 21, 2011 Habitat Walk in Townsend Park

On Saturday, May 21, Dr. Kyle Selcer led a guided walk through Townsend Park and discussed various aspects of the flora and fauna of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Dr. Selcer was joined by several of his students from Duquesne University's Bayer School of Natural & Environmental Sciences. This walk was one in a series organized by Friends of Murrysville Parks.

Before Walk through Townsend
Dr. Selcer and others
before start of walk
(photo by Betsy Aiken)

April 18, 2011 MTA Book Donations

Thank you to Joe Galvin and Bonnie Belak for organizing these donations; to Joe, Barbara Kochaniak, and Brien Palmer for sponsoring purchases; and to Brien for making the arrangements with the Library. The MTA donated several trail building books to Murrysville Community Library on April 18, 2011, and hopes to continue donations to help the Library become a regional resource for trailbuilding reference materials:
Appalachian Trail Design, Construction & Maintenance,William Birchard Jr.
Lightly on the Land: The SCA Trail Building and Maintenance Manual, Robert C. Birkby (2nd Edition)
Natural Surface Trails by Design, Troy Scott Parker
Wetland Trail Design and Construction, Robert T. Steinholtz
Trail Training DVD Series, USDA Forest Service
Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook, USDA Forest Service
Building Mountain Bike Trails DVD, USDA Forest Service
Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds, USDA Forest Service

Photo of 2011 MTA book donation to Library.
Jamie Falo accepts donations to the Library
from Brien Palmer and Betsy Aiken of the MTA
(photo by Linda Lyman of the Penn Franklin News)

2011 Springtime Hiking in Duff Park

Photo of bloodroot blooming.
(photo by Barbara Kochaniak)
Duff Park is an excellent destination for hiking and exploration year-round, and is especially popular throughout the spring when visitors enjoy seeing many wildflowers in bloom. Friends of Murrysville Parks (FOMP) organized two guided hikes through Duff Park this spring, and Barbara Kochaniak sent in this photo from an 4/15/11 hike with her husband.

April 4, 2011 Laurel Highlands Summit

The Conservation Coalition of the Laurel Highlands* hosted a conference at the Fred Rogers Center of St. Vincent College in Latrobe addressing economic benefits of conservation and trail development.

*with support from the PA Recreation and Park Society and PA's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

March 8, 2011 Winners Announced for Photo Contest

Winning photographs for the 2010 Murrysville Parks and Reserves Digital Photo Contest were announced by Joan Kearns, President of Murrysville's Council - included several relating to trails.

Collage of winning photographs for 2010 Murrysville photo contest.
Collage of 2010 winning photographs

Complete information about the 2010 winners, and about the 2011 contest, is available at

October 9, 2010 Photography Walk at Bear Hollow Park

The 2010 series of Trail Walks concluded with a photography walk at Bear Hollow Park in Heather Highlands. Ed Straub led a group of photographers to some of the scenic views hidden within Bear Hollow Park - including a waterfall ! - and discussed considerations relating to nature photography. Participants in the walk included past winners in the Murrysville Parks & Reserve Digital Photo Contest.

Photographers at Bear HollowA photographer at Bear HollowScene at Bear Hollow
Ed Straub leading photographers through Bear Hollow Park

September 25, 2010 National Public Lands Day

For the fourth consecutive year the 4-H Conservation Club participated in National Public Lands Day "Helping Hands for America's Lands" at Pleasant Valley Park in Murrysville on Saturday, September 25, 2010. The projects included building significant additional length of White Oak Trail and picking up trash. Throughout the morning the 4-H Conservation Club was joined by members of the Murrysville Trail Alliance and PV Park Volunteers.

Trail BuildingVolunteers at PV
Volunteers at PV Park on National Public Lands Day

September 4, 2010 Trail Walk at Kellman Nature Reserve

On Saturday, September 4th, Mary Beth and Conlon Renze led a walk along trails in the Kellman Reserve to demonstrate GPS use for navigation and geocaching. Mary Beth provided information about the practices and protocols that have developed for geocaching, and described some variations of geocaching including waypointing (for which there is no physical cache), and benchmarking (for which participants search for the markers used by the National Geodetic Survey during preparation of topographic maps). Conlon demonstrated the use of a handheld GPS unit to locate a geocache.

August 14, 2010 Murrysville Community Day

For the 2010 Murrysville Community Day, MTA member Larry Nicolette led successive 20.5 and 10 mile bike rides - "Root Beer Runs" - starting and ending at Murrysville Community Park. The MTA was represented by several members and a booth with trail-related literature and MTA t-shirts. Tom Dittman of the MTA also led trail walks along MCP's Valley Trail throughout the day.

Community Day CyclistsSetting up MTA Booth at Community DayMTA Booth at Community Day
  MTA Activities on Community Day (photos by Terri Wubben)

August 7, 2010 Walk at Duff Park

Diane Selvaggio, the Executive Director of the Turtle Creek Watershed Association, met several walkers in the morning at the Duff Park pavilion to lead them on a walk on the Funk Bikeway alongside Turtle Creek and discuss issues and challenges affecting the watershed.

July 24, 2010 Trail Work Day at Murrysville Community Park

For the MTA’s July Saturday trail work morning, six volunteers met at Murrysville Community Park to begin construction of a horse trail in the park. Cary Bohl, Marlene Campas, Amy Ranier, Barb Scherrer, Joe Galvin and Betsy Aiken worked with a string trimmer, chain saws, pruners and long handled loppers to clear an alignment for the first wooded segment of the trail. Much of the work consisted of removing dead trees and branches from the ground, trimming overhead branches, and removing multiflora roses. In spite of high heat and humidity it was a very productive morning, thanks to the hard work and cooperative effort of all the participants.

July 3, 2010 Walk at Pleasant Valley Park

Tom Pearson led several walkers through PV Park on a bright summer morning. While identifying birds by song or sight (including wood thrush, white-breasted nuthatch, indigo bunting, red-eyed vireo, scarlet tanager, red-bellied woodpecker, rose breasted grosbeak, towhee, Kentucky warbler, and cardinal), Tom provided much information about PV’s fields and hickory-oak forest. The group saw poison hemlock, from which Socrates died, and white snake root, from which Abe Lincoln’s mother Nancy died after drinking the milk of a cow that had eaten the plant. The group admired the park’s bench-cut trails with features such as footbridges, short stretches of flagstone paving, trail signs, and signs identifying specimen trees. Walkers learned that tulip poplars are the tallest deciduous trees in the Eastern forest, and that lichen consist of algae and fungi in a symbiotic relationship with algae providing water and fungi providing a substrate and nutrients. Tom described that PV is worth special visits in March and early April to see the courtship dance of woodcocks in the meadow South of the farm road, beyond the pond.

Nature Walk

June 26, 2010 Trail Work Day at Townsend Park.

Several volunteers met for the MTA’s monthly Saturday trail work morning, with a chain saw, string trimmer, pruners and long-handled loppers. Joe Galvin reported that the group had a very productive morning clearing trails in the Pine Grove area and reopening and trimming a long stretch of Twin Oaks loop that had become impassable. In both areas trail clearing often included removal of multiflora roses where brambles had grown into and across trails.

Trail Workers

June 5, 2010 Habitat Walk at Townsend Park

On June 5th, Dr. Kyle Selcer of the Bayer School at Duquesne University led several people for a walk through Townsend Park and a discussion of habitat. Dr. Selcer described that our forests today are markedly different than those seen by the first European settlers, due to the loss of the American elms and chestnuts that once were dominant but now are scarce due to introduced diseases. The group observed many trees, ferns and mosses, and Dr. Selcer provided much interesting information about plants, including how ferns and mosses alternate between gametophyte and sporophyte generations.

Learning About Habitat in Townsend Park Carolina Rose at Townsend Park

May 13, 2010 AAUW Luncheon

Ed Straub made a short presentation about trails in Murrysville at the spring luncheon of the Murrysville branch of the American Association of University Women. At this luncheon, Ed was also honored as the recipient of Murrysville AAUW’s Education Foundation Award for making an outstanding contribution to the community.

May 1, 2010 Duff Park Wildflower Walk

Dick Byers led 18 walkers through Duff Park on a beautiful spring morning. While studying many species of native wildflowers in bloom (including trillium, wake robin, Solomon’s seal and false Solomon’s seal, and Mayapple), participants enjoyed an excellent lesson in introductory botany as Dick led discussions of characteristics that differentiate primitive from more advanced plants.

Lesson in Botany Solomon's Seal

April 17, 2010 Duff Park Wildflower Walk
Even though the morning of April 17th was cool and overcast with intermittent drizzle, 14 intrepid walkers joined Pia van de Venne for an early wildflower walk through Duff Park. Pia led walkers to enjoy seeing many native wildflowers in bloom, including white trillium, Dutchman’s breeches, and wake robin.

Pia Points Out Unique Plant Trillium

April 24, 2010 MCP Bird Walk

Like the previous week, the morning of April 24th was cool and cloudy with occasional light drizzle turning to rain. In spite of the weather, 16 participants - many from the Westmoreland Bird and Nature Club - joined Ken Byerly for a bird walk through MCP. Although they didn't see many birds dur to the weather - and the migrating warblers had not yet arrived - hikers enjoyed walking up through the park and then along the Valley Trail. Ken noted that a greater variety of birds should be observable at the park in mid-May.

Dog Walkers at MCP Wood Phlox

April 24, 2010 Spring Awakening

On April 24th Murrysville outdoor organizations came together at the Murrysville Community Center for a celebration of spring, and to share information about outdoor activities available in Murrysville. Groups made brief presentations about their projects activities to the approximately 70 people attending, and Mayor Robert Brooks’ presented the awards for the 2009 Murrysville Parks and Reserves Digital Photo Contest. Joe Galvin described the MTA and its activities, and Joe and Brien Palmer and Ed Straub hosted an MTA table. Ed also displayed his paintings from Murrysville parks to publicize a series of monthly East Suburban Artists League en plein air “Painters in the Parks” sessions planned at various Murrysville parks. The MTA provided popcorn, and distributed cards and leaflets about the group’s 2010 activities.

April 23, 2010 PTAG/IMBA Trail Building Workshop

On Friday, April 23rd, several people from Murrysville attended an International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Trail Building Workshop at North Park. Joe Galvin, a member of Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group (PTAG), arranged for the participation of Bob Bell, Bill Davis, Tom Dittman, Shelly Tichy, Pia van de Venne, and Betsy Aiken. The Workshop provided an excellent overview of trail layout and construction, with practical advice about how to deal with many specific situations.

March 23, 2010 MTA Donation to Library

On March 23, 2010, members of the MTA presented a trail building manual donated by the group to Denise Sticha for the Murrysville Community Library. Joe Galvin arranged for the MTA’s purchase of Trail Solutions: IMBA’s Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack; this guide from the International Mountain Biking Association stresses good planning and layout of trails and careful construction, to yield sustainable trails that resist erosion and minimize impact on the environment.

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