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Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy

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About the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy

by admin last modified Jun 20, 2017 01:46 PM

"Preserving and Promoting Community Trails in Western Pennsylvania"

The Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization dedicated to the development, protection, and promotion of hiking, biking, and walking trails throughout western Pennsylvania. On this site you'll find a wealth of information on the trails we develop and maintain, as well as events, meetings, and outings.

The goals of the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy include raising awareness of the benefits of community trails, getting more people interested in physical activities, getting more people to experience the beauty of our region and the natural world, and helping people see our region as active and vibrant. Join us in our efforts and help make a difference!


Founded in 1992 as the Harmony Trails Council, it began with a mission to promote, establish and maintain a multi-use public trail system as an alternate transportation and recreation facility serving the residents of Pittsburgh’s North Hills, focusing on developing the Harmony Trail along the railbed of the former Harmony inter-urban rail line. In 2004, the Pittsburgh chapter of Hostelling International (formerly AYH) elected to relinquish its stewardship of the Rachel Carson Trail and the Baker Trail. The Harmony Trails Council chose to adopt these trails thereby expanding its mission. At the same time, the Council voted to change its name to the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy to better reflect its broader mission.

Get Involved

The organization meets monthly in Warrendale, PA and has many opportunities for volunteers willing to contribute their time. From meeting with local officials about trail development and protection to participating in a trail work crew, creating newsletter or web content, communicating with the press, or volunteering for the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, the possibilities are as varied as the backgrounds of the people involved.


For more information, contact us via:

US mail: Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy, Inc.
P.O. Box 472
Wexford, PA 15090-0472
telephone: (412) 475-8881

Board of Directors and Officers

  • Bob Mulshine, President (Sewickley); retired HP Account Executive, hiker [term ends in 2019]
  • Steve Mentzer, Vice President, Events Director (McCandless Township); manager of annual Rachel Carson Trail Challenge 34-mile endurance hike and Baker Trail UltraChallenge 50-mile run [term ends in 2018]
  • Charlie Brethauer, Treasurer (Richland Township) [term ends in 2020]
  • Jennifer Braun, Recording Secretary (Bethel Park) [term ends in 2020]
  • Marian Crossman, Correspondence Secretary (Ross Township); retired teacher, volunteer with North Area Environmental Council and Pine Creek Land Conservation Trust [term ends in 2018]
  • Patty Brunner, Baker Trail Project Coordinator (Plum Boro); maintenance organizer, trail liason, hiker [term ends in 2020]
  • Joe Kulbacki [term ends in 2020]
  • Donna Stolz (Shaler Township); associate professor of Cell Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, member of the RCTC Promotion Committee, hiker, and outdoor enthusiast [term ends in 2019]
  • Doug MacPhail (Franklin Park) [term ends in 2019]
  • Amy Nelson (Wexford) [term ends in 2020]
  • Paul Sauers (Hampton Township) [term ends in 2020]


The Bylaws of the organization can be found here.

About Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson was a marine biologist and early ecologist, born at 613 Marion Avenue, Springdale, PA, in 1907. She graduated from the Pennsylvania College for Women, now Chatham College, and then earned a Master's degree in zoology at John Hopkins and the University of Maryland before becoming a "junior aquatic biologist" with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries.

Ms. Carson was an active hiker, bird watcher, outdoors explorer and nature enthusiast. She traveled to Hawk Mountain, PA; Plum Island, the Everglades, the Maine Coast, and the California Redwoods. In July 1951, the Oxford Press published her National Book Award winner, The Sea Around Us. This book was joined on the best seller list by a new edition of her earlier book, Under the Sea Wind. In 1962, Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring was published, warning Americans of the dangers of pesticides and herbicides and other chemicals, in particular DDT.

In 1963, a committee appointed by President Kennedy supported Silent Spring and criticized the negligence of industry and government agencies. Rachel Carson died in 1964 at the age of 56.

An article about her life and work appeared in the September, 2002 issue of Smithsonian Magazine (no longer online), and Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

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