Maintaining Tunnel Co-habitants
Jerry Silagyi, P.E.
Often, the application of structural plate pipe products serves to meet some unusual needs. On occasion, those needs include provisions for the passage of aquatic life or other critters. The Poe Paddy Tunnel reline included a symbiotic feature for a most peculiar cohort — bats, especially the state threatened eastern small-footed bat.
The tunnel was originally part of the Lewisburg and Tyrone Railroad, which began operation around 1880. The historic railway was abandoned by Penn Central in 1970 and the tunnel became a critical link in the Mid State Trail (MST), commonly known as the “Wildest Trail in Pennsylvania,” extending from Maryland to New York and bisecting central Pennsylvania.
The MST has come to epitomize the Pennsylvania trail system, and the Poe Paddy Tunnel is the heartbeat of its activity, serving not only as a pass through West Paddy Mountain in the heart of Bald Eagle State Forest, but also as an all-important throat of a peninsula formed by Penns Creek, where some of the best trout fly-fishing in the Northeast can be found.