The Center for Rural Health Practice’s WalkWorks program wrapped up this month, but leaves designated walking trails and a core group of walkers.
The program was administered by the center at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
When WalkWorks kicked off in Bradford, Kane, Port Allegany and Smethport last year, more than 120 participants in nine walking groups registered; 50 participants have stayed with the program, logging a total of 4,035 hours of walking.
Support from local governments allowed the designation of four existing community walkways with WalkWorks signs and stencils that can continue to be used in communities.
Claudia Caminite, project coordinator, worked with borough managers and other local officials to identify flat, accessible walking paths.
In Bradford, the Richard E. McDowell Community Trail is the designated walkway. The 1.8-mile Kane route circles Evergreen Park and also includes Fraley, Haines, Bayard, Dawson and Greeves streets downtown.
The Port Allegany route follows a 1.8-mile loop downtown that includes East Mill, Oak, Pine, Chestnut, Church and Pearl Streets and East Arnold Avenue.
The 1.6-mile Smethport route circles Hamlin Lake along West Main, Washington, Willow and Mechanic streets as well as Park Lane.
Participants in the program also held an Ovarian Cancer Awareness Walk with 90 participants in September and raised money for the cause.
The Smethport group has plans to develop a smartphone application for its trail and to continue walking.
“Being physically active is one of the cheapest, most effective and easiest ways to reduce the burden of chronic diseases,” said Dr. Youmasu J. Siewe, director of the center. “The degree of our communities’ involvement in this program demonstrates their interest and knowledge in being personally responsible to improve individual and community health outcomes.”
For more information, contact Caminite at firstname.lastname@example.org or (814)362-5050.