Our Stories

2023 Volunteer Awards: Outstanding Private Landowner

Categories: Volunteer Stories


Tony Keiser

When a piece of private property that the NCNST crosses in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania came up for sale in 2022, Tony, through his land trust, made the purchase. He then informed the NCTA Wampum Chapter that the trail route would be secure. If that land had been purchased by someone else for residential or commercial purposes, that 2.5 miles of NCNST might have been turned back into a roadwalk. But Tony has a vision of preservation, and an appreciation for the Trail. Five years ago, he also spearheaded the effort to save the historic Watts Mill Bridge from demolition. It was built in the early 1900s and is now adjacent to an NCNST trailhead, providing hikers the opportunity to cross the North Fork of Little Beaver Creek. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation had planned to demolish it, but Tony organized funds and volunteer efforts to instead rehabilitate the structure into a finely preserved pedestrian bridge.

Learn more about how the you can honor NCTA volunteers for their service on and for the North Country National Scenic Trail, and submit a nomination at northcountrytrail.org/volunteer-awards.