The Chester County Commissioners and the County’s Parks + Preservation staff marked the significance of Earth Day today with the official opening of a two-mile section of the County’s final portion of the Schuylkill River Trail.
The Friday afternoon event attracted hundreds of people, including trail partners from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PennDOT, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and officials from surrounding municipalities.
“This is the perfect day to celebrate more miles of the Schuylkill River Trail,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Vice-Chair Josh Maxwell.
“Many people think that building a trail is relatively easy, but there are so many factors that go into every mile of trail like this,” added Maxwell. “The wait is worth it though, as confirmed by the hundreds of thousands of people who use our three County-owned trails every year for walking, jogging and cycling - not just recreationally, but also for commuting.
“The option to commute on our larger trails like the Schuylkill River Trail and Chester Valley Trail is increasingly being encouraged by employers, and taken up by employees looking for safe, economic and environmentally-friendly ways to get to work,” noted Maxwell.
The final phase of Chester County’s portion of the Schuylkill River Trail is a $6 million, four-mile paved extension that takes the trail from Linfield Road at Parker Ford to the new Route 422 Bridge crossing of the Schuylkill River at the Montgomery County border. With the completion of this phase, Chester County’s total section of the Schuylkill River Trail will parallel the Schuylkill River from the Route 422 Bridge at Pottstown, south to the Route 29 Bridge into Mont Clare, a distance of approximately 12 miles.
The County’s final segment of the trail is also important because it is one of the key puzzle pieces that helps to fill a gap in the 60 miles of the Schuylkill River Trail that connects Reading to Philadelphia.
“The benefit s of having trails close to home are plenty, and they are proven,” said Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline, speaking at the trail opening.
“Trails provide safe places for physical activity which can improve mental, as well as physical health. The option for travel and commuting by trail has obvious environmental benefits.
“But larger trails like the Schuylkill River Trail are also economically beneficial, because they have the power to drive tens of millions of dollars in tourism and revenue for local businesses.”
Chester County’s group of regional trails includes the Schuylkill River Trail, the Chester Valley Trail and the Struble Trail. Combined, the three trails attracted 896,000 users in 2021. For more information, and maps of all three trails, visit chesco.org/trails.