Join the Chester County Planning Commission for the second and final public meeting for the Southern Chester County Circuit Trail Feasibility Study on October 22, 2020. After receiving input through a public survey, a public meeting, stakeholder interviews, and the Project Advisory Committee, the project team has further refined the options for trail alignments. During this meeting there will be an opportunity to provide input on the trail alignments, as well as potential trailhead locations and connections from the trail to key destinations. The presentation will begin at 7 pm with an interactive session beginning at 7:45 pm. Register here.
The 2019 Pennsylvania Annual Trails Report is now available to view. The report highlights the gaps in regionally significant trail systems and efforts to close the gaps, in addition to highlighting trail planning, acquisition, development, and rehabilitation projects supported with DCNR and other state grants. The report also features the trail of the year, river of the year and other trail information. Read the full report.
The community conservation project to permanently preserve the meadows, woodlands and paved trails of the defunct Churchill Valley Country Club as a 148-acre greenway for public recreation and environmental education received another major boost last week when the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) awarded a $1,000,000 grant to Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) for the acquisition of the land.
“It would be impossible to overstate the importance of this most recent grant award from DCNR,” said ALT’s President & CEO Chris Beichner. “This is an enormous boost for the project–coming on the heels of the $300,000 of recently awarded private grant funding and continued donations from the community the Churchill Valley Greenway is much, much closer to becoming a reality,” Beichner said. “We truly appreciate the DCNR’s support of this important community conservation project, and also the support of the elected officials that helped to make it happen.”
The recent DCNR grant pushes the current total raised from residents, local businesses, private foundations, the Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority, and the Commonwealth of PA to more than $2,175,000. ALT has the property under contract to purchase and permanently protect contingent upon its ability to raise the $3,000,000 necessary by March 2021. Additional grant requests are pending, and discussions are on-going with potential corporate sponsors and other funders in attempt to close the $800,000 gap by the early 2021 deadline.
“I am happy to help move this project forward and very pleased that DCNR was able to provide this level of support,” said PA State Senator Jay Costa (43rd District). State Representative Summer Lee (34th District) said “the protection of the Churchill Valley Greenway will improve the quality of life in our communities and I’m excited to support its progress.” In addition to Costa and Lee, the Greenway project is endorsed by the Churchill Borough Council and a wide range of community groups and civic organizations.
The land and the trails of the proposed Churchill Valley Greenway are already being enjoyed informally by residents of all ages, interests and abilities for walking, biking, bird watching, and other outdoor pursuits, and the current pandemic has only underscored the need for its protection. The proposed greenway, like other parks and trails, has experienced a dramatic increase in visitors in recent months as people flock in record numbers to exercise, find solace in nature or simply to get some fresh air while practicing safe social distancing.
Located in a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection-designated “Environmental Justice Area,” the greenway would provide equitable, convenient and permanent access to the restorative benefits of nature to the 95,000 people who live within a 3-mile radius and to all residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Those interested in supporting the conservation project can choose “Churchill Valley Greenway Project” on ALT’s online donation form here: alleghenylandtrust.org/donate
Trail projects in northwestern Pennsylvania will move forward with new funding announced today by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
In partnership with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), Crawford County sought and received a $1.5 million POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) grant to support trail construction on the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail and the Knox & Kane Rail Trail.
Trail advocates view the funding as a chance not only to advance previously planned projects, but also to catalyze new trail development throughout the region.
“We are grateful to the Crawford County Board of Commissioners for their vision in pursuing this extraordinary opportunity,” said Brett Hollern, Program Manager for PEC, which will manage the projects on the County’s behalf. “Likewise, we couldn’t have secured these resources without the help of local trail groups and our other partner organizations, and the vital support we received from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).”
The POWER Initiative helps communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production.
Tourism and outdoor recreation have provided an economic lifeline to many such communities in Pennsylvania in recent years. At a time when other sectors are struggling, the state’s $29 billion outdoor industry appears poised for growth amid renewed interest in multi-use trails. Recent research by PEC indicates trail use is up dramatically statewide, with 2020 traffic surging nearly 200 percent in some areas. This growth has occurred despite a global pandemic and ongoing recession, suggesting untapped potential in currently underserved areas.
Crawford County’s successful grant application was based on a 2019 PEC report identifying critical gaps and infrastructure needs in the Erie to Pittsburgh and PA Wilds Loop trail corridors, including sections of:
• the East Branch Trail between Titusville and Corry
• the Knox & Kane Rail Trail connecting Kane, PA with Kinzua Bridge State Park
• the 105-year-old Brady railroad tunnel along the Armstrong Trail
• the Oil Creek State Park Trail
To date, ARC has invested over $238 million in 293 projects, touching 353 counties across Appalachia since 2015. More information about ARC’s POWER Initiative is available at www.arc.gov/power.
“I congratulate Crawford County and PEC for their POWER award, and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches. Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Brandywine Creek Greenway, the Brandywine Conservancy is excited to announce a new photo contest titled “Experience the Brandywine,” running now through October 25, 2020. The Conservancy invites the public to submit their photos that best capture the beauty of the Greenway and the many reasons why this region is such a special place to call home.
A regional planning initiative of the Brandywine Conservancy, the Greenway is a 40-mile long conservation and recreation corridor along both branches of the Brandywine—from the rural community of Honey Brook in Pennsylvania to the City of Wilmington in Delaware. Since 2010, the Brandywine Conservancy and its Greenway partners have successfully created new and improved access to open space, parks, trails, river access points and area attractions, resulting in more connected and sustainable communities.
Submitted photos can highlight one of the many fun recreational activities in the Greenway—from hiking, biking, paddling, fishing and more—or feature some of the breathtaking views of protected open spaces and historical sites within the Greenway. Three winning photographs will be selected by a panel of judges to receive one of three prize packs featuring products from Patagonia, TREK and The Whip Tavern (totaling up to $600 value). There is no cost to participate in the photo contest and all are eligible to enter. A complete list of rules and regulations, as well as instructions on how to submit the photos, can be found at www.brandywine.org/photo-contest.
The winning photographs will be announced at the culminating virtual celebration for the Greenway’s 10th anniversary on Thursday, October 29, at 6 p.m. All are invited to join as the Brandywine toasts to the Greenway’s first decade of partnership and success with a unique craft beer and artisan jerky tasting experience hosted by Victory Brewing Company and Righteous Felon Jerky Cartel. Following opening remarks by a representative from the William Penn Foundation—a generous funder of the Greenway since its inception—and a brief look at the Greenway’s exciting decade of accomplishments, participants will be guided through six pairings of beer and jerky led by Bill Covaleski, co-founder of Victory Brewing Company, and Brendan Cawley from Righteous Felon Jerky Cartel. The beer and jerky pairing kits are $40 each and contain six 12oz. beers and six 1oz. jerky samples. To learn more and register for the Brandywine Creek Greenway 10th Anniversary Celebration, visit www.brandywine.org/greenway-turns-10.
- People with disabilities
- Three members at large
The committee is charged with implementing the recommendations of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan to develop a statewide land and water trail network that facilitates recreation, transportation, and healthy lifestyles. Appointed members will serve a three-year term beginning January 1, 2021. Interested candidates must submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected] by Saturday, October 31.
The commonwealth is committed to creating a culture of diversity and inclusion. DCNR will strive for a balance of diversity and composition of the committee among geographical areas of the state.