Great Island Path

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Great Island Path.jpg

Earliest History[edit | edit source]

Historical trails, often called "traces" or "paths" contributed to the migration and settlement of large portions of the United States. Many trails were well established by the time Europeans immigrated to the colonies. The original 'travelers' on the trails were probably various types of wildlife as they moved from place to place in search of grazing lands, salt sources and fresh water. Native Americans were familiar with trails and utilized them for thousands of years prior to settlement by Europeans. The paths were also used to wage war, thus the term: “War Path”. Because they were often well worn, relatively easy to follow and led to grazing lands and fresh water, Europeans utilized them as well on foot, horseback and with wagons. Many of these trails, or portions of them, were eventually utilized in the construction of roads and highways in modern times.

Great Island Path[edit | edit source]

The Great Island Path was one of the major Native American pathways in Pennsylvania. It ran from the village of what was then called "Shamokin" (modern-day Sunbury, Pennsylvania) alongside the right bank of the West Branch Susquehanna River. The path ran north and then turned west to the Great Island (near modern-day Lock Haven, Pennsylvania) The pathway originally was able to cross the river in shallow water using a ledge of rocks that was subsequently destroyed by the construction of the Shamokin Dam in Snyder County. It eventually passed through Shikellimy's town at the mouth of Sinking Run. That area is now known as Shikellamy State Park and the pathway along the west side of the river is part of US Route 15 today. The part of the path that reaches from the mouth of White Deer Hole Creek to the Nippenose valley is part of Pennsylvania Route 44 today. Crossing into Clinton County over hills and through ravines there was a river crossing that led to Great Island. A portion of that part of the path has been included in modern day Mid State Trail. The Great Island path came to an end at the village of Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

References[edit | edit source]