Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Travel

May 21, 2013

Allegheny National Forest is a wooded wonderland

(Continued)

During one film break, the audience got to hear a talk by Jonathan Deal of South Africa, one of six 2013 winners of the Goldman Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of the environmental movement. With no prior grassroots organizing experience, Deal led a successful campaign against fracking in his native land to protect the Karoo, a semi-desert region treasured for its beauty, wildlife and agriculture.

Later the next day, I got a close up look at how nature can be destructive as well as inspirational and healing. Years before, I’d taken an excursion train to the Kinzua Viaduct Bridge, billed as the world’s longest and highest railroad bridge of its day. Because the bridge had been built in 1882, it has suffered from deterioration. So much so, further train transport was curtailed until a restoration project was completed.

Because the excursion train stopped just before the bridge, passengers, myself included, were able to get off and walk along the top of the bridge. And what an impressive site. The bridge stood 391 feet above the Kinzua Gorge, 24 feet taller than the Brooklyn Bridge.

Unfortunately, in July of 2003, an F1 tornado, which reaches speeds of 73 to 112 miles per hour, struck the bridge, once billed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World, "and sent 11 of its towers crashing to the valley floor. Eight years later, a new skywalk was built on the six remaining towers, allowing pedestrians to walk to a 225-foot high observation deck with a partial glass floor at the end and get a glimpse of the gorge and bridge ruins below.

If You’re Going

For more information on the Allegheny National Forest and the surrounding region, phone 800-473-9370 or visit website www.visitanf.com.

For a place to dine, the Aud Restaurant, 30 Boyleston St. in Bradford, takes its name from the fact that the owners are hockey fans from Buffalo, N.Y. Note: The Sabres used to play in the Aud, short for auditorium before it closed in 1996.

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