A popular Union County nature area enjoyed by hundreds each year is getting long planned and much needed improvements with a little help from PPL.

Koons Trail along Buffalo Creek in Mifflinburg, originally created by Mifflinburg Middle School teacher Joe Southerton and his students in 1990, is getting new kiosks, footbridges and platforms.

The trail was hit hard by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that feeds on ash trees, and was damaged by previous flooding.

Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy, a Lewisburg-based nonprofit, holds a conservation easement on the trail and maintains it. We granted $3,500 from the PPL Foundation to help fund the improvement project. The upgrades will help the conservancy draw the public to the site and ultimately serve its mission of getting families outside to learn about the environment.

The PPL Foundation contributes more than $3 million annually to nonprofit organizations supporting student success from cradle to career; advancing diversity, equity and inclusion; and promoting the development of vibrant and sustainable communities.

“We are sincerely grateful to PPL,” said Geoff Goodenow, the organization’s coordinator. “The funds from PPL will help to create much needed footbridges along the paths which meander within restored wetlands south of the covered bridge. Visitors to the area enjoy seeing wildflowers, various types of birds and hearing a seasonal chorus of amphibians.”

Each year, hundreds of people participate in programs held in the trail area along with the incalculable number of local residents who visit daily.

The trail is on part of a 30-acre property once owned by Mifflinburg resident and businesswoman Mary Koons. Current owners Ryan and Samantha Sabo have expanded access to the property by creating additional walkways in adjacent wetland meadows and fields. The area is private property but is open to the public from dawn to dusk for people and pets.

The Merrill Linn Conservancy is a 501c3 nonprofit. Its mission includes preservation/conservation of the natural resources and beauty of land and waterways and to engage the public in creating awareness and instilling responsible stewardship of our resources.