In the summer of 2006 the Turnpike Commission disassembled the last original toll booth which had be re-erected at the Tour-ed Mine in Pittsburgh and delivered it to the trail, where it joined the other booth at the CCC camp. After vandals started stealing the aluminum and scattering parts, both booths were removed for safe keeping and will hopefully be re-assembled at each trail head.
The study showed that it would take about $3.5 million to finish the trail. The tunnels need stabilizing, and some lighting, drainage issues needed to be dealt with, trail heads, toilets, interpretive signage, and parking lots were envisioned. But where do we get the money?
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. But they could no longer give grants to non-profits. So the trail needed to be transferred to the counties.
Unfortunately politics entered into the picture, and the trail went into deep freeze for a number of years. Of the 4 people that were advocating for the trail from the beginning, one moved, one was killed in a car crash, and one retired. This left the care of the trail to Murray Schrotenboer.
At Jeff Kloss’s (Bedford County Planning Commission head) retirement lunch, Murray cornered Jeff’s replacement, Don Schwartz and insisted that he see the trail. That was all it took. Don immediately knew how important the trail was and set about to complete the work. One consulting company set about to form a Recreational Authority to purchase the trail. Utilizing the money from the Marcellus Shale Fund, Don employed Fourth Economy, to create another study that emphasizes the economic returns to the counties.
While scouting the nearby BicyclePA Route-S, Joe Stafford was hoping to avoid the traditional challenges of Sidling Hill on Rt. 30, but was unable to find a reasonable alternative on existing roads.
Announcing this to the BicyclePA chairman, John Schubert in a meeting of volunteers, John joked that "What Joe needs is a couple of holes in the mountains."
Western Pennsylvania trail guru Bill Metzger who was also at that meeting and who is a railroad history buff responded, "They are already there." Noting that the abandoned Turnpike bypassed this mountain pass with a flat easy road section, a task force including PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission explored this new opportunity for re-use.
The Turnpike Commission was looking to dispose of the liability and it was eventually agreed that The Southern Alleghenies Conservancy (SAC) would purchase the land with intentions to have another entity manage the trail.
On November 2001 with TV cameras and dignitaries watching, the Turnpike Commission handed over the trail for $1.
Another era had begun.
In 2003 an advisory committee was formed, by-laws drafted, and in 2004 officers were elected; “Friends of the Pike 2 Bike” has managed and watched over the trail since. The officers were Bob McKinley, Bill Plank and Murray Schrotenboer.
In 2004 grant money from the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business-Cooperative Service allowed SAC to hire Gannet Fleming to produce a Master Plan and Adaptive Re-Use Study, which was completed in August 2005.
In 2005 the bridges at each end of the trail were removed making the trail separate from the turnpike.
As of the spring of 2014, much is in motion.
Officially the trail is still closed to public use. Those who use the trail, do so at their own risk.
Unofficially the trail is used by hundreds of riders.