May 15, 1997

Mr. Hugh Morris
Rails to Trails Conservancy
1100 Seventeenth Street
lOth Floor
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. Morris,

The Elizabeth Township Police Department is responsible for patrolling and enforcing the laws on the Youghiogheny River Trail which traverses 13.6 miles through Elizabeth Township.

Since the trail was constructed and opened for use we have found that the trail has not caused any inconvenience to property owners along the trail. The residents seem to enjoy having the trail near their homes.

The trail has not caused any increase in the amount of crimes reported and the few reported incidents are minor in nature. There have been some problems with vandalism to signs and benches along the trail and these we were able to attribute to juveniles that were causing those problems. There were several reports of bicycles being stolen but for the number of people that utilize the trail the numbers are insignificant.

We have found that the trail brings in so many people that it has actually lead to a decrease in problems we formally encountered such as underage drinking along the river banks. The increased presence of people on the trail has contributed to this problem being reduced.

The trail has also spawned new businesses along the trail. We now have several bike sales and repair shops, new restaurants, convenience stores, and ice cream stands that have been opened.

The trail brings in thousands of users each year and has lead to several organized rides by various organizations such as the Girl Scouts of America and by the local Council of Governments.

The Elizabeth Township Police have started a patrol plan for the trail that is Community Oriented Policing based. Officers spend time on the trail meeting and assisting trail users. We have found this leads to good community relations. Officers actually look forward to their tour of duty on the trail.

Based on our experience with the trail we see no reason for any municipality to fear having a trail established. The Yough River Trail is a success that can only lead to better things for our community.

Very truly yours,

Charles R. Tennant

Chief of Police

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