New Mon Wharf Connector Enhances Pittsburgh’s Trail Access

Point State ParkSubmitted Image

PITTSBURGH, PADepartment of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn recently celebrated the completion of the Mon Wharf Connector at Point State Park. This new connector enhances trail access from Pennsylvania’s second-largest city.

“This new, reconfigured connecting ramp joins the Great Allegheny Passage between Point State Park and the Monongahela Wharf under the Fort Pitt Bridge, creating safer trail access for users,” Dunn said. “We are truly excited for this connector and the opportunities it will provide for trail users. Thank you to all of the partners who helped build this important trail connector for Pittsburgh and the region.”

The long-awaited improvement reroutes the Great Allegheny Passage along the Monongahela River, avoiding the proximity to I-376. It removes a narrow “pinch point” caused by highway piers and eliminates a section of the trail that previously ran adjacent to a parking lot behind the state park offices.

The project improves various aspects of the trail, including its surface, width, grade, lighting, railings, and lines of sight. These enhancements are designed to encourage safer and more enjoyable travel for trail users.

Governor Josh Shapiro supports the outdoor recreation economy, proposing an additional $8.5 million investment in parks and forests. This move positions Pennsylvania as a premier destination for exceptional trail experiences, boosting the economic competitiveness of communities, tourism, and public health.

State parks like Point State Park offer fantastic outdoor experiences that contribute significantly to Pennsylvania’s appeal as “The Great American Getaway.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation adds $17 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy, supports 164,344 jobs, and accounts for 1.8 percent of the Commonwealth’s gross domestic product.

Governor Shapiro recently launched The Great American Getaway, taking a recreational vehicle tour across Pennsylvania. He made history as the first sitting governor to spend nights in state parks, including Lyman Run and Hickory Run.

“We expect to see millions of visitors at our state parks this summer and encourage the public to consider spending time finding adventure or enjoying a quiet moment on public lands as the Shapiro family experienced,” said John Norbeck, DCNR Deputy Secretary for State Parks and Forests. “Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests are second to none and there truly is something for everyone in our wonderful outdoor spaces.”

Point State Park is not only a recreational space but also a site for major cultural events and home to historic Fort Pitt and the Fort Pitt Museum. The addition of the Mon Wharf Connector further enhances the park’s role as a central hub for outdoor activities and historical exploration.

Enhancing Trails, Empowering Communities: The Impact of the Mon Wharf Connector

The importance of this development extends beyond immediate improvements in trail access. It symbolizes a broader commitment to enhancing public infrastructure and promoting outdoor recreation. By investing in projects like the Mon Wharf Connector, Pennsylvania aims to boost tourism, improve public health, and support local economies.

Trail enhancements like these also play a critical role in environmental conservation. They encourage people to enjoy natural spaces while fostering a sense of responsibility toward preserving these areas for future generations. Additionally, improved trails can reduce the environmental impact of foot traffic by directing users away from vulnerable areas.

In summary, the completion of the Mon Wharf Connector at Point State Park is a significant milestone for Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania. It improves safety and accessibility for trail users, supports the local economy, and reinforces the state’s commitment to promoting outdoor recreation and conservation. As more people take advantage of these enhanced trails, the benefits will ripple through communities, showcasing Pennsylvania’s dedication to providing exceptional outdoor experiences.

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