Upper Basin Projects

See what CVC is working on in the Johnstown region!

By embracing their future as an outdoor hub, Johnstown and its conservation partners are laying the groundwork to increase accessibility and welcome outdoor enthusiasts to the city. CVC is proud to be a partner in conservation.

Did you know?

Visitors to Johnstown will not only find that this city has a rich history, but offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation including trails, fishing, and boating

The Stonycreek Corridor and SQI

The Stonycreek helps to form the Conemaugh River in Downtown Johnstown, and as such, CVC sees the Stonycreek Corridor as an extension of the river valley we serve. In order to divide and conquer on crucial conservation and recreation efforts, the CVC formed our sister organization, the Stonycreek / Quemahoning Initiative (SQI). Their work focuses on great initiatives, like Whitewater Park, a 300-yard river park designed for kayaking and tubing.

Whitewater Park & Quemahoning Lake

Recently, SQI completed Whitewater Park: Phase II, which improved the lower playboat feature in Whitewater Park and added restrooms at the adjacent Greenhouse Park. That park features pavilions and a walking track. A release valve at Quemahoning Lake puts large amounts of water into the Stonycreek Canyon every other weekend during much of the year to support whitewater boating.

Also at Quemahoning Lake, a 17-mile mountain-bike trail, looping around the lake, was completed along with 6 miles of secondary loops in partnership with the Cambria Somerset Authority and Laurel Highlands On and Off-Road Bicycle Association. More secondary loops are in development.

Water Fun for Everyone

In the Quemahoning section of the Stonycreek River, families can enjoy milder water, featuring some nice Class I and II water. If you’re more of an adventurer, Stonycreek Canyon features 15 Class III and IV rapids within a 4-mile span, and another section of Class II and III rapids. Further downriver is Whitewater Park, designed for kayaking and tubing. 

Urban Connectivity Project

The Johnstown Urban Connectivity Project developed a plan for bicycle-pedestrian routes through the city. These plans will bring the September 11th National Memorial Trail and Pennsylvania Main Line Canal Greenway through Johnstown using both the Path of the Flood and Jim Mayer Trails. Two projects are funded to engineer and construct extensions of both local trails. CVC is an active partner in these efforts.

View the Cambria County Trail Assets Map here.

Path of the Flood Trail

The Path of the Flood Trail is a part of the September 11th National Memorial Trail and the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal Greenway. Running from Ehrenfeld into Downtown Johnstown, the trail passes through America’s oldest railroad tunnel, Staple Bend Tunnel, which is part of the Allegheny-Portage Railroad National Historic Site.

The Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority developed most of the existing 10-mile trail, which includes a busy share-the-road section along Route 271 (Maple Avenue). CVC developed almost a mile of the off-road trail network on an old trolley line and a new switchback to Plum Street in Upper Woodvale, where a quiet, residential street is used to bring the bicycle and pedestrian traffic through an existing underpass of the Norfolk-Southern mainline and to the edge of Downtown Johnstown.

Inclined Plane Riverside Park

A park along the Stoneycreek River in downtown Johnstown is CVC’s biggest project. Almost $1 million has been raised for planning, design, and permitting, which we hope will be done in 2026 in partnership with the City of Johnstown. Plans include an ADA-compliant catwalk from the bridge over the Stonycreek to the hillside and a walkway to the river’s edge, where boating and fishing access will be developed.

Later phases of park development include a loop of the September 11th National Memorial Trail through downtown and more mountain-bicycling trails that utilize the Inclined Plane to bring cyclists back to the top of the hill. Perhaps the most ambitious part of the plan is the development of a zip line and a children’s adventure park. Johnstown leaders see the park as a game-changer in building the area’s reputation as a “Mountain Town.”

Conemaugh Gap Gateway Park

Scenic view of river and bridge

Just outside of Johnstown is the great Conemaugh Gap. This unique gorge, featured on Day 1 of the Annual CVC Spring Sojourn, runs almost perfectly straight for four miles as it follows an ancient fault line. The Gap is one of the deepest gorges in the Eastern US.

Conemaugh Gap Gateway Park is being built to showcase the scenic ravine.  Native plants and trees line the walking trail from the parking area to a scenic overlook. An additional trail will be developed down the hillside, where it will connect to planned course through Johnstown’s West End, extending the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal Greenway.

NRG Energy, which operates the Seward Generating Station at the opposite end of The Gap, Alternative Community Resource Program, Starbucks and many volunteers were instrumental in developing the park’s first phase. Spangler Subaru’s Share The Love program supports current maintenance and

Kimberly Run Discharge Study

bridge in the woods

CVC received a grant for a feasibility study regarding mine discharges in the headwaters of Kimberly Run, outside Somerset. The site is upstream from the Kimberly Run Natural Area owned by Somerset County Conservancy, and mitigating this discharge will help protect and improve the habitat downstream. You will find information regarding Kimberly Run Natural Area here.

A Race Like No Other

Mark your calendars! The next West Penn Trail Triathlon is set for October 12, 2024. In this adventure race, you’ll kayak, bike, and run your way over river and trail in beautiful, Historic Saltsburg. Join solo or bring your team of 2 to 3! To see the results of the 2022 Triathlon, click here.

The 2023 Stony-Kiski-Conemaugh Rivers Sojourn, June 1-4, 2023, was a great success, with a flotilla of 65 boats! We especially thank Spangler Subaru’s as our Share the Love Partner, 2022-2024. Put the next Sojourn on your calendar: June 6-9, 2024!