Founded in 1995 as the Allegheny Trail Alliance, the Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy promotes its signature project, the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage, and coordinates, strengthens, and supports the efforts of allied partners to ensure a high-quality experience for all those who enjoy the GAP. In addition to its work coordinating the completion of the Great Allegheny Passage, the GAP Conservancy developed Trail Towns: Capturing Trail-Based Tourism, a 51-page illustrated guide for town leaders to assess and improve the way that their municipal and business assets attract bicycle tourism. In partnership with The Progress Fund, it established and installed GAP-branded wayfinding, trail access, and interpretive signs, all with a clean, consistent design that orient visitors to the GAP and its towns.
Today, the GAP Conservancy leads national marketing and promotional efforts in conjunction with local and regional destination marketing organizations, curates the GAP’s official trail map, produces TrailGuide: The Official Guide to Traveling the C&O Canal Towpath and Great Allegheny Passage, and maintains www.gaptrail.org. It coordinates trail count days and analyzes annual trail use patterns, works with municipalities to update wayfinding signage, engages trail town business owners on best practices, and oversees research that documents the impact of GAP travel on the regional economy. It also raises money for trail maintenance and makes emergency and enhancement grants along the GAP corridor. The GAP Conservancy is a nonprofit organization and holds 501(c)3 status with the Internal Revenue Service. It is governed by a 21-member board of directors, and receives an annual independent financial audit. Make a tax-deductible donation here.
The Great Allegheny Passage is owned by a mix of public and nonprofit entities, including Allegany County, Somerset County, Ohiopyle State Park, the Regional Trail Corporation, Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh, and Point State Park, each of which appoints a member to the GAP Conservancy’s board of directors.
In turn, the GAP is maintained exclusively by local residents among those jurisdictions, the vast majority of which are volunteers who live in or near trail towns. These volunteers serve among Mountain Maryland Trails, the Somerset County Recreation and Trails Association, the Yough River Trail Council, the Whitsett-Fayette Yough Trail Chapter, the Westmoreland Yough Trail Chapter, the Mon/Yough Trail Council, the McKeesport Trail Commission, the Steel Valley Trail Council, and Friends of the Riverfront.
Board of Directors
Brett Hollern (President), Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Ken Bisbee (Treasurer), Ohiopyle State Park
Darla Cravotta (Secretary), Allegheny County
David Brewton, Hazelwood Initiative
Kristin Ecker, GO Laurel Highlands
Deborah Fisher, Levi Deal Mansion
Jerry Green, Steel Valley Trail Council
Eric Harder, Mountain Watershed Association
Joe Hoffman, Frostburg State University (retired)
Jack Paulik, Regional Trail Corporation
Karen Primm, Smithton Borough
Lindsay Pyle, Somerset County
Kelsey Ripper, City of Pittsburgh
Don Thobaban, Montour Trail Council
Jacob Weiland, Point State Park
Ashli Workman, Allegany County
Bryan Perry, Executive Director
Doug Riegner, Director of Community Relations