June 10th, 2022
Collaborations yield Mosser Rd. Heritage Trail
Half-dozen organizations partner to address safety and recreation needs
What do Garrett College, the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA), Garrett Trails, Garrett County Government, the Garrett County Agricultural Fair, and the McHenry United Methodist Church all have in common?
Each organization played an integral role in the development of the new Mosser Road Heritage Trail, which is expected to be completed later this month.
The trail will run from Garrett College to Mosser Road's intersection with Route 219 thanks to $200,000 in funding and multiple easements provided by the partner organizations. It will address pedestrian safety issues and provide additional recreational opportunities for local residents and visitors, according to College officials.
Kathy Meagher, Garrett College's director of campus facilities and security, said the project was already in the discussion stage when she was hired by GC in May 2016.
Heritage Trail 1
The Mosser Road Heritage Trail, currently under construction, is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
Heritage Trail 2
Gerry Scritchfield, left, and Marcus Delozier work on the Mosser Road Heritage Trail, which was made possible by a partnership among six different organizations.
"They all wanted to contribute, but they needed someone to spearhead it," Meagher said of how coordination of the project came to the College.
Meagher said the Garrett County Agricultural Fair and McHenry United Methodist Church provided essential easements in order to make trail construction possible. Garrett College committed $35,000 to the project, which also received a grant of $45,000 from the County via Program Open Space and a contribution of $20,000 from Garrett Trails to qualify for a $100,000 MHAA matching grant.
"Kearstin Hinebaugh, who coordinates grants and program funds for the College, did a great job coordinating the grant application process that made the project possible," noted Meagher.
Hinebaugh said the College looked at several potential funding sources for the project.
"The two that most closely aligned with our needs and had grant cycles open during our required timeframe were Program Open Space, through the County, and MHAA," recalled Hinebaugh. "In order to qualify for MHAA, matching funding was required. Garrett Trails was eager to offer financial support to help close the gap as the project helps further their own mission of ‘development of a well-used network of high-quality, sustainable trails.' "
"Garrett Trails has been wanting to make this trail happen for a long time from a safety standpoint to protect the college students who walk along Mosser Road," said Mike Dreisbach, president of Garrett Trails. "At the same time, this is part of a bigger plan for us that would eventually connect this trail to Deep Creek Trail so students can walk from the College to the Wisp for recreation – and if they have jobs at the Wisp they won't need transportation to get there."
Fair Board President Jason Rush, who also serves on the Garrett College Board of Trustees, said the Fair Board was approached several years ago about "granting an easement so the Mosser Road Heritage Trail could be completed."
"There is a lot of pedestrian traffic, including many students from Garrett College that walk along Mosser Road throughout the day and into the evening getting to retail locations on Garrett Highway," said Rush. "The shoulders of Mosser are narrow and made for a dangerous situation for the students as well as the drivers of vehicles on Mosser Road."
The ¾-mile trail design was developed by the County, and construction is being handled by Excavating Associates, Inc., located in Hyndman, PA. The trail starts at Garrett College's Parking Lot D on Mosser Road, running past the College library and the Garrett Information Enterprise Center (GIEC), crossing from one side of Mosser Road to the other at the McHenry United Methodist Church. It then continues past the Fairgrounds to state highway property down to the Route 219 intersection.