Parks + Trails
About the Parks + Trails Program
The Parks + Trails Program traces its origin to the Chester County Park and Recreation Board, formed in 1958 for the purpose of coordinating and promoting park and recreational facilities for Chester County. The Board began visiting and evaluating potential park sites in 1960 and made its first purchase in 1962. This parcel was dedicated as Nottingham County Park in 1963. Hibernia County Park was dedicated in 1964 and Warwick County Park followed in 1972.
The Robert G. Struble Hiking and Biking trail was dedicated in 1979 and that same year ended with the Board of Commissioners approving the purchase of historic Springton Manor Farm. Springton Manor Farm opened to the public in 1988. In 1990, the County of Chester purchased the Black Rock, Linfield, and Sanatoga silt basins, which had been constructed in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s as part of the historic and pioneering Schuylkill River Project, which mitigated decades of environmental degradation of the river. The County partnered with West Whiteland Township in 1994 to purchase 740 acres for development as parks.
The 21st Century saw significant expansion of Chester County Parks and Trails. The Chester Valley Trail was first opened to the public in 2000 as a one-quarter mile long demonstration section. Wolf’s Hollow Farm, in West Fallowfield Township, had been identified as early as 1978 as a potential park resource and was purchased by Chester County in 2001. The Black Rock impounding basin was opened and dedicated in 2003 as Black Rock Sanctuary, Chester County’s fifth regional park. Chester County’s Regional Trail assets nearly tripled in September 2010 with the opening of Chester Valley trail Phase 1 from the Exton Park Site east to Route 29, approximately 4.0 miles. Chester County’s sixth regional park, Wolf’s Hollow County Park was dedicated in December 2010. 2011 saw the dedication of Chester County’s third regional trail, Phase 1 of the Schuylkill River Trail. Exton County Park then opened to the public in 2012 and Phase II of the Chester Valley Trail, 7.6 miles, from Route 29 east to Warner Road in King of Prussia opened in December of 2013.
In 2010 The Chester County Facilities Department merged with the Parks and Recreation Department to become the Chester County Facilities and Parks Department. The newly merged Facilities and Parks Department reorganized the County’s parks and trails in to three regions: North Region included Warwick County Park, Black Rock Sanctuary, Exton Park Site, Chester Valley Trail, Schuylkill River Trail, Struble Trail, Sanatoga and Linfield Silt Basins, and the Boars Back Trail. The Central Region consisted of Hibernia County Park and Springton Manor Farm. The South Region included Nottingham County Park and Wolf’s Hollow County Park.
In early 2019, The Department of Facilities and Parks was again reorganized, using Route 322 as a guideline, reducing the regions to two: North Region consisting of Warwick County Park, Black Rock Sanctuary, Exton Park Site, Chester Valley Trail, Schuylkill River Trail, Struble Trail, Sanatoga and Linfield Silt Basins, Boars Back Trail and Springton Manor Farm. The South Region consisting of Hibernia County Park, Nottingham County Park and Wolf’s Hollow County Park.
In August, 2019, The Parks portion of Facilities was merged with the Chester County Open Space Department. After a collaboration between staff, the Department was rebranded and reborn as the Chester County Parks and Preservation Department.