But the true wonder of the new Big Woods Trail is its accessibility. Designed to expand recreational activities to more people, this trail is hard-paved at a 5% slope. Unlike the rocky and muddy trails throughout the area, this trail is wheel-friendly and opens up hikes to wheelchairs, strollers, and other tools of limited mobility. As an educator, this enables me to bring more people out into the field for interpretive walks and lessons, which thrills me.
During a particularly exciting bird walk along the creek with community residents on May 10, 2014 I was amazed by the sheer numbers of migrating songbirds that we were finding– from Worm-eating, Blue-winged, and Bay-breasted Warblers to Gray-cheeked Thrushes and a White-eyed Vireo–when up popped a Red-headed Woodpecker. Our excitement nearly tripled as we got to see this beautiful but rare bird for an extended period of time.
The Yardley Farmers’ Market, started by community volunteers, is held in Buttonwood Park every Saturday morning from 9 AM to 1 PM from May to October. 2017 will be our third year. Families and neighbors come together to shop for local food, enjoy the daily entertainment, and meet up with other friends and family. It’s the perfect location for the market, and the market could not exist without it.
As a trail user, I enjoy walking and biking the trail, alone or with my wife. Much of the trail is shaded by large trees or passes by open meadows, providing a scenic backdrop for our outings. Bluebird boxes have been placed along the trail, wildflowers attract a variety of native birds and bees, and deer and other wildlife can often be seen from the pathway. A local blogger recently posted a photo of a red fox happily trotting down the trail; apparently humans are not the only CVT enthusiasts! I find the trail to be an easy way to get an hour or two of exercise and fresh air, and I often come across friends and neighbors doing the same thing.
As the southern trailhead, Columbia Borough has benefitted from the construction of Columbia Crossing at Columbia River Park. This facility provides restrooms, information, interpretive displays, and indoor/outdoor event space that can be rented by community members. Columbia Borough, which owns the facility, has entered into an agreement with the Susquehanna Heritage Area for management of the facility. This facility has seen monthly visitors in excess of 3,500 in both June and July. As a volunteer at Columbia Crossing, I have met with visitors from Lancaster and surrounding counties who were drawn to the area by Columbia Crossing and the River Trail.
The past four years working as a Nature Preschool teacher have been incredibly eye-opening. The benefits of getting kids outside unfold right before my eyes. I’ve learned that the best type of learning happens organically. It is meaningful, relevant, and exciting. True learning happens when you discover answers to your questions first hand. At Nature Preschool we work to do just that. We use the trails, ponds, streams, leaves, and every little crevice under a log to learn.
I first discovered the trail thanks to neighborhood friends; it was a place where we would walk our dogs. In those early days (1990s) I had a Yellow Lab, named Bart who enjoyed several swimming holes along Conewago Creek. At first my friends and I would only hike about two miles of the trail and never ventured past Rt. 743. As time went on Bart and I hiked past Rt. 743 and up to Belair Road for an eight-mile round trip.
The Heritage Rail Trail has become the go-to facility for planning and staging a successful event. Through these successes, many non-profit agencies gain public recognition and are financially sustained. The Rail Trail Authority is proud to be the developer of the Heritage Rail Trail and grateful to the York community for embracing the Heritage Rail Trail and its newest event, the Pumpkin Walk.
The benefits and opportunities that our Climbers Run visits provided to Horizons students cannot be overstated. No amount of reading, video-watching, or even walking around the school could recreate the experiences that our students have had there. In addition to the invaluable hands-on science education they received, they also learned to take healthy risks, to persevere, to work together, and to ask questions. Best of all, they learned to respect and to enjoy nature.
Besides addressing the demand for this type of action sport facility and promoting programs to support the changing recreation trends in the 21st century, the Skateplaza has evolved into a place where social skills are learned. Cultural and socioeconomic barriers disappear and users communicate face to face instead of through text or email. Age does not matter, and the more experienced help the less experienced.
The Silver Lake Nature Preserve is a perfect habitat for the luna moth, which is only found here in North America. The Preserve is home for all of the major host trees that the caterpillar loves to eat, especially the sweet gum tree that exists here in abundance. Without this type of tree, the luna moth caterpillar may not have enough nourishment during the summer and may not have the protection it needs to survive the long, cold winters of this region.
The race, which is now in its eighth year, has been held on the Ironton Trail each spring. We are privileged to have such a beautiful, scenic backdrop to host our event and distribute bikes to a most deserving group of individuals. The gifts many of us take for granted are ones that our bike recipients finally get to cherish as the result of hard work from dedicated volunteers, runners, and sponsors who help make our event a success.
Places like Silver Lake Preserve are incredibly important, not just for the environmental ethics of protecting such habitats for the animals, but because we are part of nature and we have become increasingly estranged from it in today’s modern society. People of all ages need to have a place to come back home to, a place to find peace and see the beauty and magic of our natural world.
The South Bethlehem Greenway creates greenspace and a vibrant rail trail in the core of the most densely developed area of Bethlehem and the area of the city most lacking in recreation opportunities and open space. However, the Greenway is much more than recreation space, creating a hub of urban activity for a variety of residents and visitors.
Now that the community’s eyes have been opened to the positive impact of the Bethlehem Skateplaza, we have been able to start after-school skate programs with elementary and middle schools in the area. The classes are designed to help kids learn the basics of skateboarding in a less intimidating environment so they can fully enjoy the Skateplaza, which helps keeps them active instead just sitting inside playing video games.
I fully believe that our use of the Struble Trail has helped our small running group grow, and with our growth we have been able to provide over $800,000 to the American Cancer Society in fundraising. This isn’t hyperbole. The Struble is a perfect place to take people like myself, who are not runners, and turn them into runners and even philanthropists.
When I was young, the velodrome opened my eyes to the sport of track cycling. After a few years of the free community programs, which are still offered to this day, I realized my talents and passion for the sport. This facility has served as the launchpad for my Olympic career and my post-Olympic life. I owe much of what I accomplished around the world to the velodrome in Trexlertown.
I walk the Poquessing Creek Trail every day with my 3-year-old Yorkie-Poo, Bubba. He is very active and wants to play all the time, and I began taking him to the trail soon after he joined our family. We both love the trail–sometimes I’m not sure which one of us loves it more. This is the story of our daily journey.
During the summer we run several community programs in the park. Saturdays during the summer we offer free community fishing days for anyone who wishes to attend. Community fishing days include free bait and use of rods and instruction from dedicated park staff and volunteers. Free movie nights are also run during the summer. This year our turnout for the movie Aladdin was well over 200 people. The children enjoyed chalking pictures and messages on the park walkways prior to settling in for the movie.
I am a person who likes to go off trail, when possible. So when Pennypack on the Delaware opened, my brother and I immediately explored the gated area to the north. There we had to wade through tall grasses to access the riverside trail, and it was on that trail that I experienced my first double rainbow, my first sighting of eagles, and my first glimpse of the mouth of the Pennypack Creek. I especially like the mudflats and lilies at low tide. The trail was curious to me. It was well-worn. But who had been walking there?