FAQ

Where can I find a list of all Parks and Trails to visit? 

A comprehensive directory of Chester County Parks + Trails can be found at: chesco.org/4520/Parks-Trails

Are there rules/regulations behind what types of gatherings can be held at the parks?

Yes.  All gatherings must abide by the Chester County Parks Ordinance.  Larger gatherings and gatherings open to the general public must be approved under a Special Event Permit.  Further information about the requirements of hosting an event at a Chester County park or trail can be found at: https://www.chesco.org/4613/Permits-Events

How many parks are there in Chester County?

Chester County currently owns seven dedicated Parks: Black Rock Sanctuary, Exton County Park, Hibernia County Park, Nottingham County Park, Springton Manor Farm, Warwick County Park, Wolf's Hollow County Park

And three Regional Trails: Chester Valley Trail, Schuylkill River Trail, Struble Trail

What’s the biggest park in Chester County?

Hibernia County Park at over 1000 acres with Chambers Lake at 94 acres boasts some of the best recreational opportunities in Chester County.  Offering meadow and woodland trails, the West Branch of Brandywine Creek, Campgrounds, Playgrounds, Chamber's Lake and Historic Structures visitors will have plenty of opportunities to fulfill their recreational needs.

Where can I find information on events being held in my local park?

We would love to see you at our next event!  Please check out our website for a listing of upcoming events: https://www.chesco.org/4613/Permits-Events

If you would like to receive notifications of all programs and events you can subscribe to our newsletter Nature of Things here: https://www.chesco.org/4520/Parks-Trails.

I’m interested in volunteering for the county’s parks and trails - how can I do so? 

You're amazing!  We're so happy you'd like to come help us keep the parks in tip-top shape.  For information on how to get involved please contact us at: parkvolunteers@chesco.org or visit: https://www.chesco.org/4611/Volunteers

Are there hours or holidays that my local park is not open?

Excluding Christmas Day the Parks will remain open from 8 AM until approximately Sunset year-round. Regional Trails are open 30 minutes before Sunrise and 30 minutes after Sunset. For a complete listing of Park Closing times please visit: https://www.chesco.org/4605/Parks-Trails

What kinds of wildlife are found in Chester County parks?

All kinds!  You never know what you'll see on your next hike. Commonly sighted species are Whitetail Deer, Red Foxes, Eastern Bluebirds, Red-tailed Hawks, Eastern Chipmunks, Woodchucks, Pileated Woodpeckers, Norther Flickers... the list goes on and on! Come out and see what you can spot and be sure to ask a Park Ranger about the fascinating wildlife in Chester County.

Is camping permitted in any of the parks or trails?

Hibernia County Park is home to three separate camping areas. Whether you are looking for a large, group-camping for a scout troop or just a weekend get-away with your significant other Chester County Parks + Trails have the perfect solution. To reserve a campsite, for $15 per night, please visit: https://chesco.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5fcc3d667be641ddba65d830a05769ea (Note: For group camping, please call us at 610-344-6415.)

Can I host a party or gathering in my local park?

Parks are the perfect place for your next party or gathering!  Many of our parks offer amenities such as pavilions, picnic areas, camping and more.  Larger gatherings and events open to the public require some special considerations and organizers must submit an application for a Special Events Permit.  More information on these options can be found at: https://www.chesco.org/4613/Permits-Events

Is food/alcohol permitted if i’m hosting an event in the park?

Food is permitted at privately hosted park events provided the organizers follow the complete guidelines put forth by the Chester County Department of Health.  If food vendors are present they must also be licensed to operate by the Chester County Department of Health.  Alcohol is not permitted in the parks.

What should I do if i see an injured animal?

Finding an injured animal can be heart-breaking, but please do not approach the animal.  Contact a Chester County Park Ranger immediately by calling 911 and maintain a safe distance.  Never put yourself in danger.  The Park Ranger will attend to the well-being of the animal by contacting the appropriate entities for wildlife rescue/rehabilitation depending on the species, location, and nature of injury.  

Who can I speak to regarding press or news opportunities for the parks/trails/open space preservation?

All press-related inquiries regarding Chester County Parks and Preservation contact our Public Information Officer at 610-344-6279 or via email at rbrain@chesco.org

Are there any special events or activities geared towards children?

Yes, all of our events are incredibly family-friendly and many programs are geared towards children.  We strongly encourage all ages to come out and help us foster a sense of community in the beautiful natural setting our Parks provide.  Upcoming events, programs, and activities will be posted on the park's website and social media, and throughout your local park.

Is hunting permitted in any of the parks?

Regulated archery hunting is permitted in limited park areas during open seasons, by application and lottery selection process. In order to be considered the applicant must have successfully completed the PA Game Commission Successful Bowhunting Course. Hunting permits are issued upon approval and successful completion of an Archery Proficiency Test. Further information about Archery permits can be obtained at https://www.chesco.org/4641/Hunting. County-regulated goose hunting is permitted at Chamber's lake.  Public hunting for geese and pheasant is permitted at Struble lake.

Is personal/professional photography and video permitted in any of the parks/trails/open spaces or do I need a permit?

Personal photography and video is permitted.  Professional photography/video sessions are required to apply for a Special Event Permit.  You can apply for a permit at chescoparkspres.org.

Is feeding the wildlife in the parks/trails permitted?

No.  Feeding is prohibited for the well-being of the wildlife in our parks.  When we feed the animals they learn to become dependent on our involvement and it disrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem.  

Are the parks/trails ever closed due to inclement weather? If so, where should I turn to to find this information?

Yes.  Up-to-date park/trail closing information will be available on social media or you can subscribe to ChescoAlerts for information.

Can I bring my dog to the County parks/trails?

Of course!  Enjoying the outdoors with your furry friends is a great way to spend the day.  Just remember to keep any pet on a leash no longer than 6 feet, make sure they have access to drinking water, and check them for ticks before returning home.  The only location pets are not allowed is the Great Barn complex at Springton Manor Farm.

I had a bad experience at the park, who can I speak to about this?

You can inform any Staff Member or Ranger on duty of any unfavorable conditions in the park or regional trails. We want every visitor to have the most positive experience possible and will make an active effort to provide a safe and enjoyable environment.  If you would like to speak directly with the Lead Ranger, Park Manager, or Director you can email us at parkspres@chesco.org

Are all parks/trails free to visit?

Absolutely!  We work hard to ensure all individuals are welcome and are encouraged to enjoy the beauty of nature free of charge.

Can the parks accommodate visitors with disabilities?

Our park staff make every effort to accommodate visitors with disabilities.  Most County park trails are ADA accessible. Hibernia, Nottingham and Warwick Parks offer playgrounds accessible to those with disabilities per ADA standards.

Can I ride my horse at the parks?

Parks
All of our parks have some internal trails particularly well-suited to horseback riding, except for Wolf’s Hollow, which is only open to hiking, per township requirements. 

Trails
Horseback riding is permitted on the Schuylkill River Trail because it is unpaved and does not have a high degree of pedestrian and bicycle activity. Other county trails are off-limits to equestrian due to the large numbers of joggers and cyclists and the excessive damage that regular horseshoes can cause to paved, macadam trail surfaces.

Can weddings be held at the parks?

Yes, any of the County parks would make a lovely backdrop for an informal outdoor wedding. Please submit a special event permit request via ChescoParksPres.org at least 60 days prior to the event date. An agreement must be signed and fees paid in advance, including pavilion or other needed rentals. For a more formal occasion, The Manor House at Springton Manor Farm is available. For more information on the Manor, call J. Scott Catering at 610-733-2516.

What activities are permitted on regional trails?

Regional trails with smooth, asphalt macadam surfaces (ie., the Chester Valley Trail) are permitted for: walking, jogging, cycling, non-motorized scooters, in-line skating, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, Battery-operated wheelchairs or battery-powered bicycles by persons with doctor-verifiable disabilities, Dog walking under leash (maximum 6’ length), and Strollers, including those connected to bicycles.

The following are NOT permitted for use on our trails: Motorized vehicles including segways, motorcycles and mopeds, Powered scooters , Snowmobiles (excluding authorized vehicles), Skateboards, Horses or horseback riding, and Horse carriage, pony carts, etc.

Can I take my ATV to any of the parks?

The operation of any type of mini-bike, trail bike, all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile or other vehicle that cannot be registered for operation on public highways, except in areas designated for that purpose, is prohibited. Only then, with County approval and the appropriate permit, are such vehicles permitted.

Can I ice skate on Chambers Lake?

No, ice-skating is strictly prohibited on any pond or lake at all County parks.  

Can I swim at any of the parks?

Swimming is not permitted at any County Park.

Can I fish/boat at Chambers Lake?

Chambers Lake is stocked with warm water species including channel catfish, chain pickerel, smallmouth and largemouth bass.  Non-motorized or electric powered boats ONLY. No sailboats. All watercraft must be registered with the PA Fish and Boat Commission. Boating for the purpose of fishing is also permitted after park hours. A public fishing pier is open on the north side of the lake and may be accessed from Lake Trail. Other shoreline fishing is permitted, but is prohibited from the dam breast itself. Swimming is prohibited at Chambers Lake.

Can I fly my drone at a County park?

No, drone flight is not permitted by the public over any County park or trail property.

Can I use my metal detector at a County park?

No, metal detecting is not permitted by the public on any County park or trail property.  

I've noticed numerous Nature Preserves in the area. Are these owned by the County?

Many of these nature preserves are owned and managed by land trusts.  If you look up the name of the nature preserve you can see who manages and owns that preserve.  

Who do I contact for information about local parks in my neighborhood?

Many of the local parks in your neighborhood are under the jurisdiction of the municipality you are in.  The best option is to look up the municipality for their individual contact information.  

Can I review the easement of a preserved property to see what is allowed?

An easement deed is public record, and you can find and review most easements on the Chester County Recorder of Deeds. If you can't find a deed you are looking for there, contact staff via phone 610-344-5656, or by email: parkspres@chesco.org. If the property was preserved by the county, they will be able to provide a copy to you.

I have a complaint or question about a preserve, farm or Township park that has been preserved by the county - who can I ask?

If you're concerned that a property the county helped to protect is not following the terms of the easement, you can contact our compliance staff at parkspres@chesco.org

Are preserved farms open to the public?

Preserved farms are not open to the public; they remain under the control of the owner.  The public can benefit from the pristine views, and the knowledge that the landscape will remain in farming in perpetuity.

What are the eligibility requirements for preserved farms?

Farms must be at least 50 acres in size, unless they are adjacent to preserved land.  If the property is adjacent to preserved land the minimum is 10 acres.

How many farms has Chester County preserved?

Chester County has preserved over 500 farms.

How is the farmland preservation program funded?

The program is funded through County, State, Federal, and municipal funding.  Landowners also may choose to provide a donation, which helps the County leverage more funding.

Are only farms able to be preserved?

The farmland preservation program is for productive farmland, however, Chester County has multiple programs in place to preserve multiple facets of land.  For more information please visit chesco.org/4618/Farmland-Preservation

Are preserved farms inspected?

Yes, it is required that Chester County visits each farm at least once every two years.

Is a conservation plan required for preserved farms?

Yes, all preserved farms are required to have a conservation plan and follow the stewardship practices. https://www.chesco.org/4621/Stewardship

Are landowners compensated for preserving their farms?

Yes, a real estate appraisal is completed to provide the easement value that is offered for each farm.

Where can I find a listing of all the farms preserved in Chester County?

A parcel map of all the preserved farms is located at chesco.org/DocumentCenter/View/5759/ProtectedOpenSpace?bidId=