The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 12, 2012

Rail trail gets a manicure

LEWISBURG —  The heat was up, but the vines came down as 34 volunteers with the Americorps program joined with Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority staff Thursday morning to stem wild vines growing on trees along the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail.

“It went great,” said East Buffalo Township Supervisor James Buck, who spoke while driving around to return the more than 50 tools residents loaned for the project. Buck also sits on the LARA board and is chairman of the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail Committee. “We even got a little farther than I expected.”

The volunteers worked on about five miles between the trail head in East Buffalo Township and Skunk Hollow Road just west of Vicksburg, he said.

The overgrown vines — some of them reaching into the canopy — endangered trail-side trees. However the task at hand wasn’t to cut the vines down but to cut them off from their root systems, Buck said.

“Visually, there is no immediate difference because we didn’t tear the vines down,” he said. “If you go out there tomorrow, you’ll likely still see some, but they’ll begin to turn brown and wither.”

Americorps volunteers throughout the Central Susquehanna Valley joined in the work, making it their seasonal project this summer.

Valley residents lent a hand, too, through loans and donations of tools to take down the vines, some of which were quite hardy. Someone even baked cookies and left them at the LARA office for those involved, Buck said.

The project was one of two maintenance efforts on the rail trail this week. Earlier this week, heavy brush cutting took place on the trail, and Buck said that also went well.

“About three feet of vegetation has been knocked back from the trail,” he said, “making for easier access.”

The brambles, bushes and tree limbs were encroaching into the space and needed cutting back for safety as well as aesthetics.

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