5,000-year-old trail represents Greene County’s rich history

A piece of history with a beautiful scenery are the words Frank Pecjak, president of the Warrior Trail Association, used to describe one of Greene County’s hidden gems, the Warrior Trail. 

“The Warrior Trail is part of our history,” said Mike Belding, chairman of the Greene County Commissioners. 

Once used as a trade route for Native Americans, the 67 mile-long trail offers a unique experience for the current inhabitants of the surrounding area. 

The trail follows ridge-tops that separate Dunkard and Whiteley creeks from Greensboro, Pennsylvania, across Greene County and Marshall County, West Virginia, to Moundsville, West Virginia. 

“The trail takes hikers through some of the most beautiful hilltop meadows, tree covered ridges in the county and you can hike the entire trail without getting your feet wet,” Belding said, since the trail does not cross a single body of water.

Residents of the area not only enjoy the scenery the trail has to offer but the history behind the trail.

“This trail is unique to our area and unique to Greene County history,” he said. “Unlike other historic places where you may walk around and look at a log cabin or replicas of history or observe a reenacted event, the trail provides a unique opportunity to walk the same ground as those who preceded us by 5,000 years.”

Because the trail is 5,000 years old, volunteers gather once a month to maintain the trail and keep it accessible for residents to hike. This is managed and maintained by the Warrior Trail Association.

The association was founded in 1966 and has been caring for the trail since then through work hikes and other volunteer opportunities.

Courtesy of Warrior Trail Association

“We [the Warrior Trail Association] try to do one [work hike] a month except for December because of the holidays, but we try to go out there and clean up the trail and make sure it is marked once a month,” Frank Pecjak said.

There are two major tasks the work hikes involve: clearing the trail and marking the trail. 

“Clearing the trail includes cutting overgrowth of small trees, limbs and often briars to keep the trail open,” Belding said. “The second major task is maintaining the marking of the trail. We have used yellow painted circles in the past to maintain visual markings of the trail for hikers to remain oriented. More recently, we have been using plastic disks and arrows nailed to trees along the trail to keep it marked.”

Volunteers come from all over Greene County. 

“We’ve had up to 10 or 15 [helpers],” Pecjak said. “We’ve had groups from [Waynesburg University] and high schools come out. We’ve also had the boy scouts and cub scouts come work on it. About 15 is the max that we’ve had at one time.” 

Belding and his wife are counted among these avid volunteers and have been for about seven years, he said.

“My wife, Lisa, and I usually attend the meetings together and participate on the work hikes together. Several times, we have had our children join us, which is a great family activity if we can match up our schedules.”

Even though there are volunteers willing to help out with maintaining the trail, the association welcomes more people to attend and stresses the importance of maintaining this historical landmark.

“The trail is long, and although some of it is along roads and easily accessible, there are stretches that must be hiked into, carrying all the gear to clear the trail or maintain its markings. Obviously, the more folks that get involved, the less time each of the members needs to contribute to keep the trail in tip-top shape.”

For people wanting to join the Warrior Trail Association, there are monthly meetings featuring a pot-luck dinner and a guest speaker.

The next Work Hike will be held Saturday, Jan. 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will be hosted at the Mid Point Shelter off of Bluff Ridge Road.