New por­tion of Big Woods Trail com­pleted

New­est por­tion of Big Woods Trail open to the public

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mar­ian Den­nis mden­nis@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mar­i­anDen­nis1 on Twit­ter

Of­fi­cials had a warm wel­come ready for the new­est por­tion of the Big Woods Trail with a rib­bon-cut­ting event.

ELVERSON >> De­spite the dreary weather, of­fi­cials had a warm wel­come ready for the new­est por­tion of the Big Woods Trail Fri­day.

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Nat­u­ral Re­sources, along with Bureau of State Parks of­fi­cials, opened the new­est ad­di­tion to the Big Woods Trail Fri­day, com­plet­ing an­other por­tion of what is ex­pected to ul­ti­mately cover a 13-mile stretch and con­nect to ma­jor nat­u­ral fea­tures in the area.

The new 2-mile por­tion of the trail fea­tures an ADA ac­ces­si­ble trail, a park­ing area and passes through ac­tive and for­mer agri­cul­tural lands. It ad­di­tion­ally of­fers scenic views of the Schuylkill High­lands at the sum­mit of a large hill.

“This is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause it’s a crit­i­cal part of the con­nec-

tor to the Thun Trail, which is part of the Schuylkill River Trail, all the way into French Creek State Park,” said Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Sec­re­tary Cindy Adams Dunn. “The con­nec­tor takes us a cou­ple miles to­ward the des­ti­na­tion of the park. We have some more work to do to bring it all the way into French Creek State Park but this cou­ple miles is sig­nif­i­cant.”

Fol­low­ing a few words from dig­ni­taries in at­ten­dance, the rib­bon was cut, of­fi­cially ded­i­cat­ing the trail on the grounds of the state park.

“I think when the sys­tem is all done, I think that Hopewell Big Woods and the Schuylkill High­lands will be­come a real des­ti­na­tion for peo­ple vis­it­ing, for peo­ple from the Philadel­phia area, for peo­ple in the re­gion. It will gen­er­ate a lot of eco­nomic devel­op­ment and help with health and well-be­ing and add to the qual­ity of life in the re­gion,” said Dunn.

Dunn added that the “long-term strat­egy for trail devel­op­ment in Penn­syl­va­nia is to have a trail within 15 min­utes of ev­ery Penn­syl­va­nian.”

The new­est por­tion of the Big Woods Trail was not de­vel­oped with­out its ob­sta­cles, how­ever. Dunn ex­plained that a lot is in­volved with de­vel­op­ing these types of trails. Af­ter first suc­cess­fully ac­quir­ing the land, the plan­ning of the trail route then had to take place and then fi­nally the con­struc­tion.

“We want to es­pe­cially thanks the Nat­u­ral Lands Trust which emerged as a vi­tal part­ner in this ef­fort, as­sist­ing DCNR in ac­quir­ing the prop­er­ties to make the phys­i­cal con­nec­tion to French Creek State Park and the Schuylkill River Trail,” Dunn said.

To­tal, the new­est phase of the trail cost $1.3 mil­lion, which was ac­quired through Key­stone fund­ing and pri­vate fund­ing from the Wil­liam Penn Foun­da­tion and the Delaware Re­gional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

“The trail pro­motes her­itage tourism, which each year con­trib­utes $590 mil­lion to the re­gion’s econ­omy and sus­tains more than 6,000 jobs. We want to see con­nec­tions like this made up and down the Schuylkill River, as we re­con­nect res­i­dents and visi­tors to rivers, trails and his­toric sites,” said Dunn. “I re­ally en­joy it. It’s a lovely place to pedal along the river, see the birds, it’s just a great as­set.”

MAR­IAN DEN­NIS – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

The rib­bon-cut­ting for the French Creek State Park phase of the Big Woods Trail took place on Fri­day near the Berks-Ch­ester county line. Bureau of State Parks of­fi­cials and many oth­ers at­tended the open­ing.

MAR­IAN DEN­NIS – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Groups crowded around the newly opened por­tion of the Big Woods Trail fol­low­ing the rib­bon-cut­ting Fri­day morn­ing.

MAR­IAN DEN­NIS – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

State Rep. Tim Hen­nessey, R-26, speaks at the open­ing of the French Creek State Park sec­tion of the Big Woods Trail Fri­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.