Park to Perkiomen Trail Connector officially opens
The official opening of the Park to Perkiomen Trail Connector was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
The new 1.3 mile trail connects Upper Salford Park with the Perkiomen Trail, running along the edge of Schirk-Hutt farm, through the Schirk-Hutt preserved woodlands and across the bottom of Spring Mountain.
The ceremony was attended by the Upper Salford Township Supervisors and Montgomery County Commissioners along with representatives from the project’s funding agencies and planning team.
Upper Salford Township Supervisor Ted Poatsy kicked off the event by detailing the project’s history.
While working with local farmers Bill Schirk and Kathleen Hutt to preserve 40 acres of woodlands, the township required 50 feet of right-of-way from Upper Salford Park down to the woodlands, generating the idea of a trail connector to the Perkiomen Trail. The township successfully received the permission of Schirk and Hutt as well as the owners of the bottom of Spring Mountain to construct the trail.
“So, all of a sudden, there was a vision,” said Poatsy. “Now we needed the funding.”
The township wound up receiving over $1 million in grant funding, including a $175,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Authority and a $10,000 grant from PECO. Other grants came from the Pennsylvania Department
of Conversation and Natural Resources, the state of Pennsylvania and Montgomery County. Poatsy said that the township itself spent approximately $50,000.
“So it’s wonderful to go from imagination to vision to plans,” said Poatsy. “Somehow we got it done. And we’re so happy that we have an asset, the Park to Perkiomen, which will outlive all of us.”
Shawn Megill Legendre of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission described trails as “community assets” that provide healthy alternatives to car travel, conversational spaces and connections to homes, businesses and recreational outlets.
“That’s why the creation of an interconnected network of trails is part of the region’s long-range plan,” said Megill Legendre. “We at DVRPC are excited to play a role in implementing
Drew Gilchrist of the DCNR similarly cited the numerous benefits of trails, including health and wellness, economic development and environmental services. He noted that the trail has permanently preserved woodlands and will increase the property values
of nearby homes. He concluded by praising the County for its trail systems.
“Montgomery County is known statewide for its trails. You are the envy of many counties across the state,” said Gilcrest. “So we are pleased to be part of this, to invest in the community.”