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Clearcut trees on Pinkerton Horn, along Great Allegheny Passage bike trail by Paul Heckbert

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Paul Heckbert Paul Heckbert
Explore score
Print Pricing
$7.00 to $940.00
0.08 Gigapixels
Date added
Oct 14, 2011
Date taken
Oct 09, 2011

It is sad to see that the healthy forest on top of Pinkerton Horn has been clearcut this year and this ridgetop will be used as a rock dumping ground. It's almost like we're stepping back 100 years to the bad old days when most of Pennsylvania's forests were clearcut.

Here is a map of the two Pinkerton Tunnels and the Pinkerton Horn.

goo.gl/maps/T0AH Will open in a new tab or window
See also:
view from this location, one month later, when it is even more scarred: gigapan.org/gigapans/92117/
view from upstream side of the horn: gigapan.org/gigapans/92098/
view in June 2013, after the work was done:
Here's a message that summarizes the history, written earlier this year, available at groups.yahoo.com/group/Great_Allegheny_Passage Will open in a new tab or window/.
Posted by: "paul g wiegman"
pgwphotography@gmail.com Will open in a new tab or window paul_g_wiegman
Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:39 am (PDT)


The CSX railroad is in the process of ‘daylighting’* *several tunnels along
their main line in the Casselman River valley. This process essentially
converts the tunnels to deep open-topped cuts that will allow CSX to run
double stacked cars on this line.

One of the tunnels scheduled for day-lighting is the CSX tunnel at the neck
of the Pinkerton Horn*.* That work will impact, and include, the presently
closed WMdRwy Pinkerton Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage. The CSX
tunnel is close enough to the old Pinkerton Tunnel that the cut necessary
will open a portion of the old tunnel.

The CSX work in necessary and should continue.

However, to accomplish the daylighting, CSX has purchased the Pinkerton
Horn. They are now logging the upper portions now.

The rock rubble, estimated at over 1 million cubic yards, will be placed on
the summit of the Pinkerton Horn.

Somerset County has been involved in discussions with CSX since the County
owns land that will be impacted. CSX is offering the Pinkerton Horn property
back to Somerset County when the cut and disposal of rock debris on the Horn
is finished. The logic is that the present Pinkerton Tunnel is a liability.
Since the existing by-pass trail is a lease at present, with this deal the
present trail would become a permanent trail owned by Somerset County*.*


It’s important to note that despite the significant expense associated with
restoring the Pinkerton Tunnel on the Passage, many trail organizations and
advocates had hoped to reestablish that route.

There are significant concerns with this proposal and although the process
is moving ahead quickly many questions remain, and some alternatives haven't
been investigated.

*Now is the time to contact the Somerset County Board of Commissioners. *


*Ask that they immediately assemble a Technical Group to review all
alternatives in this project, including possibility of using the rock debris
rather than dumping it on the horn and finding a more suitable location.
------ **There are alternatives. *


*Ask also that the Technical Group review all specifications if the rock
debris does end up on the Pinkerton Horn. This is essential since that
debris will now be owned by the County which will have the financial
responsibility for maintenance. *


*The Technical Group might consist of representatives from local and
regional watershed organizations, the Somerset County Conservation District,
the Allegheny Trail Alliance, and the Somerset County Conservancy, as well
as others with technical knowledge that would be valuable. *


*This project in the heart of some of the most beautiful part of the Great
Allegheny Passage. The CSX daylight will, and should take place. However
we need to assure that the future of the old Pinkerton Tunnel is given full
attention, and that the disposal of the rock debris has as little negative
impact as possible on the area now and into the future. We need to find the
right solution, not the easy solution. *

The names and email adresses of the Somerset County Commissioners are below.

Pamela Toker-Ickes, Chair pti@co.somerset.pa.us

John Vatavuk, Vice Chair vatavukj@co.somerset.pa.us

James Marker, Secretary markerj@co.somerset.pa.us

Address letters to:

300 North Center Ave
Suite 500
Somerset Pa. 15501

You can make a phone call or Fax to:

Phone: (814) 445-1400
Fax: (814) 445-7991


Thanks for your help.



paul g wiegman
Confluence / Regent Square, PA

Gigapan Comments (1)

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  1. John Bradford

    John Bradford (October 15, 2011, 04:10PM )

    I applaud your use of Gigapan to document habitat destruction and to get the word out to try to save the land. Good luck in your fight. Regards

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