Old Northern Central Railroad tracks and a portion of the York County Heritage Rail Trail that runs alongside them will benefit from $100,000 in improvements when weather permits.
York County Commissioners on Wednesday voted to allocate the money from the county's Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund, which is paid by natural gas drillers in the state's Marcellus Shale.
Vice-president commissioner Doug Hoke said the county parks department will use some of the money to resurface the trail near Glen Rock, as well as improve road crossings. The entire 21-mile trail is currently closed because of extensive damage from winter storms.
New Freedom's Steam Into History, a 19th-century train attraction, will be allocated a portion of the money to make improvements to its rail line, he said.
The portion of the Northern Central Railroad on which Steam Into History's locomotive runs hadn't been used in decades before the attraction opened last June. The nonprofit has already paid to replace more than 7,000 ties over 10 miles of track along the trail, between Hanover Junction and New Freedom.
Hoke said the organization will someday be a major tourist draw to York County, but it's young and needs the money to make improvements.
While there is no natural gas drilling in York County, all Pennsylvania counties get a share of impact fees paid from areas where there is. Under state rules, the money must be used for environmental and outdoor recreation causes, such as preservation and open space projects.
York County has received more than $700,000 from the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund since distributions started about two years ago.
York got more than $369,000 from fees paid in 2011, the first year they were collected, and $365,000 from fees paid in 2012. The allocation for 2013 will be announced later this year.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.