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Rainbow Lake trails progress

(9/11) Work on Emmitsburg’s "multi-user" trails continue to advance, thanks to the help received from area volunteers.

Emmitsburg Councilman Timothy O'Donnell told the council at their September 6 meeting that work on the proposed trail in the area of Rainbow Lake is 85 percent complete as the result of the latest volunteer work day at the site held August 27.

He said more than 35 volunteers from the area participated, which included "a large turnout" of members of the Mount Saint Mary’s University’s men’s rugby club and women’s varsity cross-country team.

O'Donnell reported that the work session "was a very productive day," in spite of one "non-trail related" emergency that required that medical attention be provided to one of the volunteers.

The councilman stated that area residents have provided "200 hours of volunteer labor so far" in working on the developing trail system. He said that amount of labor equated around "$3,200 worth of value through donated labor. That’s pretty significant."

"Some people (participants) want to come back and bring friends( to help)," he said.

Work that remains in the immediate future includes finishing clearing the trail corridor, which he stated had slowed due to thistles. The growth has been cleared back around 87 percent.

When that is completed, O'Donnell stated, "We will declare the trail open." The first trail that will open will be the "beginner trail," with intermediate and advanced trails planned to open at a later date.

The end result will be some 20 to 25 miles worth of trails that will be accessible to mountain bikers and pedestrian trail users.

After the trail is officially open, signage and blazing (marking the trail paths) will be tackled. He said, "We will be applying for some grants" to help finance the remaining work.

The next volunteer work day has not been determined, but may be scheduled to occur during the first half of October. Potential volunteers may contact O'Donnell at

Work on the Rainbow Lake trail system was initially proposed seven years ago, the commissioner said, and construction began in in August. Grants monies have thus far financed the project.

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