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"A proposed trail system is envisioned to traverse throughout the Municipality. The trails will connect a majority of the parks and significant community facilities and provide nature-oriented pedestrian connections. In addition to trails, a continuous
riparian buffer system has been proposed along Turtle Creek and the community's other streams to promote the biological importance and value of healthy streams."
Murrysville 2002 Comprehensive Plan

Overview of Plan

What is it?  The Murrysville Trail Plan (dated March 14, 2012) is a proposal:
            1) That certain predominantly cross country routes be considered for Trail Routes
            2) That certain roads be considered Bike Routes, and made more friendly for cycling and walking.

The Plan has been developed based on Murrysville's conservation of riparian corridors as open space during the land development process, and long-standing vision for a network of trails throughout the community. In Murrysville, planning for trails has a long history, starting with our Home Rule municipality's earliest elected and appointed officials, and continuing over the years with Murrysville's land development regulations and recommendations set forth in Comprehensive Plans; Recreation, Parks and Open Space Plans; and other planning documents.

The Plan proposes using some riparian corridors and other open space as greenway and trail corridors, and working to secure the trail easements needed for desired trail connections between neighborhoods and parks and other facilities. (Greenways are corridors of protected open space that can be publicly or privately owned; many greenways have come about as the result of public/private partnerships.)

If adopted, the Plan will support Murrysville's land development regulations and administrative policies as a planning document. It will be used as a reference to evaluate proposed open space and recreational facilities in plans for new developments, and to plan improvements to roads. The Plan does not suggest that any trail would cross privately owned property without a trail easement or the consent of the property owner.

Why is the Plan necessary?  At this stage of Murrysville's development, careful planning is essential to preserve possibilities for future trail routes and connections. Many existing neighborhoods in Murrysville already incorporate trails or easements for trails, and some neighborhoods like Heather Highlands feature trail systems that have been in use for many years. At this point, though, careful reference to an overall Trail Plan is needed for evaluation of proposals for new residential subdivisions and other development.

Photo of sign at entrance to Bear Hollow Trail Area.
Entrance sign for Heather Highland's
Bear Hollow Trail Area

Murrysville's parks and reserves are exceptional resources that significantly improve quality of life for Murrysville residents. The Plan will enhance the value and utility of those resources by improving connections between neighborhoods and parks to make healthy recreation and enjoyment of nature even more accessible. Trails are a low-cost, high-value part of a community's infrastructure that significantly add to a community's livability and quality of life.

It is increasingly recognized that trails bring many related benefits to a community, including fitness and health, civic pride, and economic vitality.

Photo of bridge in Duff Park
A trail bridge over Turtle Creek shows the scenic beauty
often found along floodplains or sloped lands
(Photo Contest entry)

Murrysville, located in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, has topography that presents an excellent opportunity to blend prudent conservation of floodplains and slopes with establishment of interconnected greenways and trails. Land along riparian corridors is generally relatively flat, allowing for easy walking, and often yields ready access to settings with scenic views. With a long history of good planning, Murrysville has worked incrementally over the years to selectively secure conservation of many such natural areas and trail connections through them. This Trail Plan is one step in a long series of steps to strengthen these efforts by proactive planning.

A worthwhile vision for Murrysville includes that trails:

- connect neighborhoods and parks, schools, the library, and other destinations
- provide opportunities for readily accessible recreation and exercise for Murrysville residents
- be planned, situated, built, and maintained to yield safe and enjoyable recreation with careful attention to privacy concerns

and that Bike Routes provide opportunities for safe and enjoyable cycling and walking.

A goal guiding development of the Trail Plan was that 90% of homes in Murrysville be located within one mile of an existing or planned publicly-accessible park, nature reserve, or trail. If the Plan is adopted, it will be easy for Murrysville to quantify related goals for implementation depending on resources available. If adopted, the Plan's availability as a formally recognized reference document will strengthen the Municipality's ability to conserve desired open space and secure desired trail easements and connections as part of the subdivision and land development process.

Photo of a group preparing for a Murrysville nature hike.
A group about to set out on a hike

through the Lillian Kellman Nature Reserve

Surveys and meetings conducted during the preparation of 2011 Murrysville Comprehensive Recreation, Parks, and Open Space Plan show that trails are the recreational amenity most valued by Murrysville residents. Based on Murrysville's strong foundation of good planning, the Murrysville Trail Plan is meant to support ongoing planning for a Murrysville trail system and guide its implementation.

Many people contributed to the development of this plan, and are shown in Acknowledgements along with photography credits.

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