Montour Trail Council

MTC board members broke ground many times over the years of building the Montour Trail. Read about the milestones reached along the way.

The Trail is maintained and managed by an extensive network of volunteers that includes a governing board, members, Friends groups, and donors. Collectively they contribute more than 20,000 volunteer man-hours each year! And yet, that is never enough — we can always use a few more hands to help us accomplish our annual goals. Join us and become a “they.


The Montour Trail Council (MTC) is a non-profit, all-volunteer group that builds, operates and maintains the Trail. It is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, relying on corporate, foundation and government grants as well as private donations for funding.

The MTC’s main role is to carry out construction/rehabilitation projects, maintain a positive public interface, raise funds, recruit members, and manage its growing volunteer base. Since its founding, MTC leadership has managed this tremendous amount of activity through a formal structure with a Board of Directors, by-laws and standing committees. Maintenance is conducted by seven Friends Groups that solicit volunteers and raise funds supporting maintenance of their assigned sections of Trail.

MTC’s volunteer Board of Directors serves Montour Trail members by setting goals, objectives, and policies along with creating ways to support and promote these plans. Directors serve terms of three years, for a maximum of two consecutive terms. Officers are elected annually and normally serve for one year. An annual membership meeting is held late in the year and  includes a celebration of MTC’s accomplishments.

Review MTC’s annual reports and newsletters.

Board of Directors



MTC 2022 Officers

Deb Thompson President
Phillip Torrez Vice President
Fran Hensler Secretary
 Shirley Ulaky Treasurer

 MTC Board Members & Terms

Dave Borrebach 2022-2024
Fran Hensler 2021-2023
Mark Imgrund 2022-2024
Dave Jackel 2021-2023
Peter Kohnke 2022-2024
Mark Modispacher 2021-2023
Jen Mosesso 2020-2022
David Oyler 2021-2023
Tom Prezel 2021-2023
Jim Richter 2020-2022
Dave Tetrick 2020-2022
Don Thobaben 2020-2022
Deb Thompson 2020-2022
Phillip Torrez 2022-2024
 Shirley Ulaky 2022-2024
 Ned Williams 2022-2024
Julian Wolfe  2021-2023

MTC History

The first public meeting to discuss creating a rail-trail in the countryside surrounding Pittsburgh was held in 1989. A core group of 15 committed people attended, and some of them are still active volunteers. In 1991, the MTC purchased the Montour Railroad right-of-way.


Back then, MTC members envisioned a trail along the railbed, a coal transport spur abandoned in 1984, that stretched from Coraopolis to Clairton. Over the years, Council efforts concentrated on acquiring funding and rights of way, building infrastructure, paving pathways, engineering and rehabilitating bridges, joining Trail communities, building trailheads/access areas, and marketing the resource to the public.

Future efforts relate to closing gaps in the southeast section — a total of less than five miles! This requires equal parts fundraising, engineering, construction, and annual maintenance. To sustain these efforts, the Council receives revenue from utility crossings and a lease from a railroad line along the trail’s Westland Branch. Revenue from shale gas deposits, annual memberships, grants and gifts also help pay the bills.

The Montour Trail Council is an original member of the Allegheny Trail Alliance and has partnered with other trails in the Pittsburgh region. It has generated funds to help complete the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) into Pittsburgh, and raised millions of dollars for trail development along both the Montour and GAP.

Read about the MTC’s founding fathers.
Learn the details about MTC’s efforts to build the rail-trail.

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