Health & Wellness

Join Bike Ride to Support National 9/11 Memorial Trail

Launches fundraising effort to upgrade 1300 mile trail, linking all three 9/11 sites.

Did you know there's a national trail that links all three sites of the 9/11 terrorist attacks? If you haven't heard about the September 11th National Memorial Trail, organizers are hoping a 24-mile bike ride next month will attract more national attention, and more funds to upgrade the 1,300 mile trail.

The nonprofit September 11th Trail Alliance will hold its inaugural 911 Trail Challenge, a 24-mile bike ride, on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. It starts in Berlin, Somerset County, 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, and pedals through the town of Shanksville. The ride ends at the Flight 93 Memorial in Stonycreek, the place where a hijacked United Airlines jet, believed to be bound for the U.S. Capitol, crashed after passengers tried to seize control.

The idea for a September 11th National Memorial Trail happened right after the 2001 attacks. Right now it's a challenging mishmash of half public roads and half off-road trails.

Trail planners eventually want the trail to be entirely off-road, which will take decades and a lot of money. Trail alliance president Tom Baxter says their ride is meant to help with a big piece of that process: connecting the memorial trail to the Great Allegheny Passage in Somerset County, Pa. Some of the ride will take place on trails inside the Flight 93 Memorial grounds that are usually closed to the public.

"That's why a lot of people are really excited about this - they're going to have access to places that are not normally open," Mr. Baxter told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . He told the P-G the money raised will help them unlock federal funding for the trail connector.

The trail includes the Flight 93 Memorial.

Baxter told the Post-Gazette he's hopeful that the House and Senate will pass twin resolutions to recognize the memorial trail. The resolutions, currently pending in committees, are sponsored by Pennsylvania lawmakers including Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, and could pass by September, giving the project a major boost.

"Having federal recognition would not only showcase this trail as important to our nation, but also help us move forward with seeking additional support."Tom Baxter

Here's how you can get involved:

The trail starts at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and connects with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park which follows the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland; a distance of 184 miles. From Cumberland, the trail follows the Great Allegheny Passage towards Pittsburgh, turning off at Garrett to the Flt. 93 Memorial at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.The trail continues east to New York City following many existing trails across Pennsylvania, with the final leg from New York City to the Pentagon mostly following the East Coast Greenway. The trail is shaped as a triangle forever connecting these three sites.

(Images & map: 911 National Memorial Trail website and Facebook page )

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