FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Camp Hill, PA – Bikers and hikers on the Great Allegheny Passage have a new place to rest with the recent opening of the High Bridge Campground. Supported by a grant from the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation to the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF), the campground was a partnership with Ohiopyle State Park staff and volunteers. Additionally, as part of the new space and improvements, a bike repair station has also been installed, which was donated in memory of Allen Potter and sponsored by brothers Steve Potter and Chris Potter, and their families. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held August 22, 2023 to celebrate the opening.
Winding through beautiful scenery and preserving pieces of history, the GAP Trail, a 150-mile stretch from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sees about 1.4 million visitors a year. Of which, roughly 200,000 are thru-hikers and bikers.
Ohiopyle State Park and Linda McKenna Boxx, then president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance, identified the need for the project after receiving feedback from users. One such comment expressed the challenges bikers faced utilizing the park during their journey. Park Manager Ken Bisbee had a conversation with the commenter who expressed concern on the challenge of accessing the Kentucky Campground. The central location of the High Bridge Campground makes access for camping visits to town easier.
“The Highbridge Biking Campsites are a perfect example of the need for and benefit of partnerships. PPFF is instrumental in enabling grassroots projects such as this,” said Ken. “From concept to completion, they are there to support our park staff who cannot do what they do without funds or the work of many unsung volunteers. Whether it be helping to identify a need, receiving and holding donations for a worthy project, or coordinating the boots on the ground to help complete the project, PPFF is a great partner in the goal of keeping Pennsylvanians invested and connected to our precious natural resources.”
“Outdoor recreation has a $14 billion dollar impact across Pennsylvania. Projects like these are important for the towns that surround our state parks and the GAP trail to continue to create jobs and revenue from both tourism and recreation,” said Deputy Secretary John Norbeck. He continued, “We are grateful to Governor Shapiro for prioritizing infrastructure needs at state parks, and for organizations like the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation and Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation for their continued efforts to make the recreational opportunities in our parks more abundant.”
“The PPFF was founded as a way to engage volunteers, facilitate private investment in park and forests projects and to advocate for public investments,” said Marci Mowery, President of PPFF. “We understand the value of these places to human health and to the economic well-being of the Commonwealth. We are excited to be a part of this project and know that it will be embraced by users of the trail.”
The new campground along the GAP trail offers 5 rustic sites that have a place for tents and their own picnic table. There is a seasonal water station several yards away, a shared vault toilet, and pets on leashes are welcome. The sites are bike-in/hike-in only and are not accessible by vehicle or from the river. The High Bridge Campsites at Ohiopyle State Park can be reserved for one night online at https://pennsylvaniastateparks.reserveamerica.com/.
If you would like additional information or have questions about the new campground, please contact Ohiopyle State Park directly at 724-329-8591.
About the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation supports 124 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest by coordinating volunteers, activities, and donations through its 45 chapters. The mission of the foundation is to inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. To learn more about PPFF, visit https://paparksandforests.org/.