ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) -- The valley off of Cemetery Lane is a wooded wonderland for deer and hikers with more than three miles of trails that crisscross the valley.
Down the steep slopes, through the bottoms and up the other side the single foot paths are a challenge for hikers and mountain bikers alike.
Perhaps that would be more accurately stated "were" a challenge.
Thousands of tons of dirt have obliterated the entrance to Short Line Hollow Park and its trails.
It turns out the dirt came from the Reis Run Land Slide a few miles away after the Department of Environmental Protection shut down the township's other dump site.
Ross Township Commission President Stephen Korbel says, "If we did not accept the Reis Run fill then Reis Run would have been closed for weeks or months because they were planning to take the fill somewhere in Washington County and that would have delayed the project terribly."
Korbel says the entrance to the park was an obvious choice, "that area was already permitted for dumping so we deposited the dirt there and temporarily closed the park."
Joe Brandt from the Friends of Short Line Hollow isn't happy about dumping.
"It's a great resource down there but it doesn't do us any good if we don't have access to the trails and the bottom of the valley."
Brandt says the massive pile of dirt wiped out the first hundred years of the Red and Black Trails.
Trails that had been cut and established by the hard work of volunteers.
Korbel emphasizes this is only temporary and will facilitate a longer term plan that will be an improvement for Short Line Hollow Park.
Up until now only seasoned hikers could access the park's steep trails.
But Korbel says when the new trail head is built, "There will be more parking and a trail head that's accessable to everybody."
Brandt says the best hiking season is just around the corner and he's anxious to see access to the trails re-established.
"Oh I'd love to see it happen tomorrow but realistically we're looking at around May perhaps maybe early summer before the trail head is reopened."
The township estimates the completion of the new parking area and more accessable trail head could be as much as three to five years away.
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