Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Trail Leads to Recognition

Stephen P. Pohowsky, left, with his award and Kurt Zwikl, executive director
of the Schuylkill River National Heritage Area in Pottstown.
A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation employee recently earned a 2013 National Trails Award from American Trails for his work improving trail user safety on several Pennsylvania trails, including the Schuylkill River Trail.

Stephen P. Pohowsky was recognized with a State Trail Worker Award, which is a category in the National Trails Awards presented annually by American Trails. He was nominated for the honor by Schuylkill River Heritage Area Trail Projects Manager Robert Folwell.

Pohowsky is a Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator and Safety Program Specialist for PennDOT District 5-0, which encompasses the counties of Berks, Schuylkill, Lehigh, Carbon, Northampton and Monroe. He received the award in recognition of "his extraordinary contribution to improving trail user safety at state highway crossings within District 5-0."

According to Folwell, Pohowksy is an avid trail user who uses "his trail riding
experience as well as his extensive knowledge of PennDOT highway safety issues to effectively evaluate all trail crossing plans to determine what works best, and has developed model guidelines for District 5 that will save lives."
Plans for the connection of the Schuylkill River Trail between Phoenixville and Pottstown.

In accepting the award Pohowsky thanked the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and American Trails. He observed that he had worked to foster better communication between PennDOT and the trail building community. He also spoke about the value of trails to local communities.

"We are fortunate to be located in an area of the state with a large expanse of both canal and rail trails, thanks to the former anthracite coal industry. These trails are not just a portal to our past, but also a pathway to our future,” Pohowsky said. “I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to make our trails a source of pride, an asset to their communities, and a fine example of what we can accomplish together."

American Trails, which sponsors the annual National Trails Awards, is a national, non-profit organization that works on behalf of all trails. Awards are offered in a number of categories, including the State Trail Worker Awards, which recognize one individual in each state “who has demonstrated outstanding contributions and consistent support for trail planning, development, or maintenance in either the private or public sector.”

Awards were presented at a symposium last month that took place in Arizona. Since Pohowsky was unable to attend that event, his award was presented to him by Schuylkill River Heritage Area Executive Director Kurt Zwikl at a recent PennDOT event.

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