Floor Speech: Thompson celebrates the life and legacy of Jim Holden of Franklin, Venango County

November 21, 2013


"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the life of Jim Holden, a resident of Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania.   

An outdoors enthusiast who tirelessly promoted recreation and tourism in Pennsylvania, Jim passed away on November 9th at the age of 73.

The co-founder of the Allegheny Valley Trails Association, Jim was instrumental in the Rails-to-Trails movement, an effort in the early 1990s to rehabilitate abandoned railways into multipurpose recreational trails for the public to access and enjoy.  

Franklin’s newspaper stated the following upon Jim’s passing and I quote: “Largely unrealized were how Holden’s efforts impacted the overall economy of a region hard hit over the years by the loss of blue-collar manufacturing jobs that once made the Oil Region one of the most prosperous in all the country… his passing will leave some mighty big hiking boots to fill.”

Jim Holden knew that our region’s recreational resources could be better utilized to the benefit of the community and its economy.  He spent his life making this vision a reality.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim Holden and his family.  He surely did leave big boots to fill, but also an enduring legacy for us to cherish.