ADAMS TWP — Pete Ferraro was driving home on Myoma Road late one night last October when out of nowhere a runner on the road dressed black narrowly missed his car.
“I almost hit this person,” Ferraro said. “I was thinking, 'This is ridiculous.'”
Incidents like this one are becoming more common, he said, and are one of the reasons he and like-minded area residents have formed Trail Adams Area, a nonprofit group dedicated to the creation of trail network connecting communities in townships and boroughs across southwest Butler County.
The group launched in April 2017 as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, with members spending the past year and a half working with local municipalities, developers and landowners to help plan and promote the introduction of new trails in the area. They meet at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the Adams Township Municipal Building.
Members come from local communities and have a variety of passions and specialties, from hiking and running to bicycling and horse riding. And many share Ferraro's concerns that the roads in this part of the county have become too dangerous for pedestrians and nonautomobile motorists.
“When I first moved to Adams 20 years ago, we walked in the road all the time,” said member Shelley Wood. “As the township developed, it got more and more dangerous. The priority for me is to get the adults, the bikers and the kids off the roads.”
The bulk of the group's work is community engagement and reaching out to area municipalities, developers and homeowners to work with property owners to add to the network of trails.
“The township has been very cooperative with us and provided encouragement and support,” said member Clay Morrow.
Members often attend local events and festivals to meet residents. They also attend planning commission and supervisor meetings to see if developers would agree to allow trails in open spaces.
So far, developers and homeowners associations have been receptive to the group, members said. And the group's efforts aren't restricted to one township.
“We're not just Adams Township,” Ferraro said. “We want to give back to the community as a whole.”
Morrow said the group has members in several townships and boroughs, including Cranberry and Middlesex Townships and Mars and Valencia.
Ferraro said the group envisions a system of trails connecting the various communities in this part of the county and beyond, with members reaching out to groups in neighboring counties and other parts of Butler County.
“I think the happiest day for me will be hearing a some kid (in Adams) got a job in Cranberry and rides his bike there,” he said.
Additionally, each member brings their own area of passion and expertise.
“Some are bikers, some are hikers, some are equestrians,” said member Tammy Crouthamel. “We all share the same goal.”
Still in the early stages of its operation, Trail Adams Area is looking for projects and partnerships, Ferraro said.
Anyone looking to connect with the group should visit trailadams.com or the group's Facebook page.
Morrow said the group is looking for new members, partners and project ideas.