I’m sure I speak for all the business owners along Front Street by saying there is no doubt the opening of the trail has brought a multitude of people–young and old–to Marietta. Lots of walkers, joggers, cyclists, hikers, kayakers, boaters, and history buffs have come to explore our town.
In 2015, Hawk Mountain opened a first-ever accessible trail to the South Lookout. I attended the standing room-only grand opening, which had people with all kinds of disabilities and those without disabilities enjoying the trail. The one thing all people had in common was their smiles when they reached the Lookout.
One was the 5.6-acre Drexeline Property. A developer was looking to squeeze four homes onto this property and UPOS was very concerned, since the creek overflows during heavy rain. With the help of a Keystone Fund grant, the township was able to work out an agreement with the owners. Generations to come will be able to enjoy nature along Ridley Creek.
I also discovered the Delaware and Lehigh Trail section from Allentown to Easton. I ran, biked, and raced on it. It was my special place to get away, to think, to recharge my batteries. I was obsessed with spending time on the trail. Each time a new section was complete I had a new place to explore. When the segment from Cementon to Slatington was opened, it connected me to an endless playground. I can now ride my bike from my house to White Haven and beyond and be on less than five miles of pavement.
Thanks to the Keystone Fund, this route is a beautiful destination for outdoor enthusiasts and boasts one of the most impressive rail-trails in Pennsylvania. The 165-mile trail cuts through 4,500 acres of river gorge parkland along the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers, weaving past stunning landscapes, historic towns, dramatic waterfalls, and the remnants of the Lehigh and Delaware canals.
Although Columbia has always been technically on the map, the community is now a destination. Instead of stumbling upon it, visitors seek out its recreational opportunities. These visitors are not just spending their time in the borough–they’re spending their money.
The Center is a pioneer in connecting children to the outdoors. It offers public programs for all ages, engages schools in diverse nature education, and runs a popular summer camp. In the fall of 2013, the Center opened the Schuylkill Center Nature Preschool, Pennsylvania’s first nature-based preschool, immersing toddlers in nature and the outdoors.
For three decades, Montgomery County Parks and Heritage Services had ranked the 78-acre property as a high priority for land conservation. The property contains prime agricultural soils, wildlife-rich woodland habitat, and the confluence of Montgomery County’s only two high-quality streams, Unami Creek and Ridge Valley Creek.
Once an unsightly and polluted lot in an economically depressed neighborhood, John O. Green Memorial Park is now a lively public park and vital community resource. It is also the only park in the Borough of West Chester that offers a water play feature. When the weather gets warm, people from all over the borough gather at the park to keep their children cool.
The sweeping meadows are planted with drought-resistant native species to manage stormwater. The greenway and its amenities, including a paved riverfront esplanade, seating areas, and interpretive signs detailing the history and ecology of the area, are ADA accessible.
Over 400,000 people, including commuters, annually use the Schuylkill River Trail, a 22-mile regional trail that links Valley Forge National Historical Park in Montgomery County to Center City Philadelphia. A 2.5-mile section of trail was widened to accommodate the wide variety of trail users and correct drainage problems that were causing standing water along the entire eastern edge of the trail that required constant maintenance.
Since 1789, Philosophical Hall has been the American Philosophical Society’s home, hosting meetings of members including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John J. Audubon, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein, and Robert Frost. Over the years the APS has gathered a museum collection that traces American history and science from the founding fathers to the computer age, including a draft copy of the Declaration of Independence hand-written by Thomas Jefferson and the original journals of Lewis and Clark. Keystone funding repaired the Philosophical Hall’s roof, ensuring the long-term preservation of the museum’s important collections and maintaining the building’s form and integrity as part of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.
The Pearl S. Buck House is a rare National Historic Listing which tells the story of a woman’s past and ongoing contribution to society. The home of Pearl S Buck was at risk of closing its doors because of safety issues, structural deficits, limited access, significant water infiltration, and general disrepair after 3 decades of public use. Thanks to the Keystone Fund, which enabled the leverage of private and public funding, the historic dwelling was restored.
The Yuengling Mansion, once the Yuengling family home, now serves over 20,000 people a year. It hosts jazz festivals, outdoor concerts, gallery shows, civil war re-enactments, renaissance fairs, Celebrate Schuylkill Festivals and theater performances. Keystone funds were used to strengthen underlying structural support and finishes of the building’s character-defining front entrance and porch area.
The Minersville Pool has been an important piece of the Minersville community since 1952, but the continuous repairs became to costly for the community and it was shut down. A group of citizens from Minersville and surrounding communities banded together to save this community gem. With a Keystone grant, they rebuilt the pool, which eliminated the safety and ADA issues that existed with the old facility. In its inaugural season, the new Minersville Community Pool broke attendance records.
New Hope is a small community population-wise and area-wise. Because New Hope does not have much landmass, every small parcel of green counts. Keystone funding has been used to create what the borough calls pocket parks, two just along the Delaware River, and one that straddles the railroad track.
Lancaster County Conservancy’s creation of the Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve protects some of the county’s rapidly diminishing open space. Described as the premier natural area in Lancaster County, it includes a rhododendron and hemlock canopied trail following Tucquan Creek, a creek so clear it’s been designated as a wild and scenic Pennsylvania River. During the summer, nearby city residents flee to the creek’s cool waters. Each spring, Tucquan becomes a classroom for every sixth-grader in the Marticville School District, and for some students, it is their first opportunity to experience a true natural setting.
In East Vincent Township, 36.5 acres in the French Creek Watershed were purchased for a township park and natural open space area. It is a part of a 154-acre property that had been purchased by a local developer and the township was able to work with the developer, a local land trust, and citizen groups to preserve a portion of this property, achieve a site plan for environmentally sensitive growth, and protect greenway corridors.