RIDGWAY--A great new event is coming to Ridgway's Sandy Beach Recreation Area courtesy of the Allegheny Hike, Bike, and Ski Association

The Clubs is inviting everyone out for a fun time on the Laurel Mill Trails in beautiful Ridgway Township's Sandy Beach Park on the Laurel Mill Road. The event will feature a 14k or 7k trail race, or participants can take a spooky 2-mile walk. The course is a 7k loop with approximately 425 feet of elevation gained, and the 14k course is two laps of the 7k course with around 850 feet of elevation. The rolling forest trails offer a surface covered in grass, ferns, roots, rocks, dirt, and mud, so dress appropriately.

There is a registration fee, and participants are requested to register by October 8 to guarantee a t-shirt. They will accept registrations until the race begins but can not guarantee that same-day registrants will receive a t-shirt. By going to the Club's new website at ahbs.info/index. Participants can print out the registration form and return it to Mudbeard's Bikes and Boards in Ridgway on Main Street or mail it to 100 Ridge Street, Ridgway, PA 15853. Checks payable to Allegheny Hike, Bike, and Ski Association. Registration will include a tech race shirt, a finisher medal for all finishers, a door prize drawing, and treats. Awards for 1st overall male and female for each distance .will also be given out. All registered kids 12 and under will receive a free treat bag.

The Allegheny Hike, Bike, and Ski Association is an all-volunteer organization founded in 2016 to create and maintain hike, bike, and ski trails in the southeastern portion of the Allegheny National Forest. In some ways, they are the successor organization to the Bootjack Snow Gliders, who used to maintain the Laurel Mill Ski Trails. The group describes themselves more as "friends" and works alongside Federal, State, and local agencies to improve recreation opportunities in the Allegheny National Forest and neighboring communities. As an IRS 501 (c) 3 Not for profit organization, donations to support the group work are tax-deductible.

In 2021, the AHBS entered into a partnership agreement with the US Forest Service to oversee the Laurel Mill Trail system. These trails had been neglected for over a decade, and the group is working to restore them, including resuming cross country ski grooming. These trails are open for hiking and cross country skiing. Forest Service regulations do not allow bicycles but are working with the Forest Service to allow bikes on some of the trails in the future.

The AHBS is also working with Ridgway Township to develop a bike pump track and mountain bike trails at the Township's Sandy Beach Park, which borders the Allegheny National Forest. They hope that bicycling will be allowed on some of the Laurel Mill Trails at some point in the future, and then the Sandy Beach mountain bike trails will connect to them.

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