Wildlife and Water Quality: We All Depend on Nature
Northern Chester County Highest Concentrations Of Exceptional Value and High Quality Designated Streams
Water is essential to all life, and without healthy stream buffers and conserved land to protect our waterways, the water we depend on is subject to degradation from erosion and pollution. Northern Chester County has some of the highest concentrations of Exceptional Value and High Quality designated streams anywhere in the state, and French & Pickering strives to preserve these waterways through conservation easements and assisting in the development of a robust water quality program in the region.
Since 2013, the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust has been one of over 40 regional and national organizations selected as a partner in William Penn Foundation’s groundbreaking five-year $35 million initiative designed to preserve and protect the Delaware River watershed. The $35 million in grant funds will fund an innovative and comprehensive approach to watershed protection. Most notably, the initiative will permanently protect over 30,000 acres in the Delaware River watershed, help complete over 40 restoration projects in critical areas, and provide resources for businesses and organizations such as French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust to engage and educate communities on the importance of our waterways.
French & Pickering has partnered with Green Valleys Watershed Association, Natural Lands Trust, Berks County Conservancy, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Pennsylvania Audubon, Stroud Water Research Center, Academy of Natural Sciences, and Chester County Water Resources Authority to develop a strategy to take advantage of this unique opportunity over the next several years. To learn more about this program, please visit ansp.org.
French & Pickering is not only dedicated to protecting open space and natural resources, but also to the belief that all people should have access to the healing powers of nature. Using conservation easements and strategic partnerships with other organizations and local governments, French & Pickering has led the development of a vast trail network in the region.
French Creek Trail French Creek Trail (FCT) is an informal trail for hikers, equestrians, and fishermen which runs along the French Creek and highlights the scenic and historic charm of the region.
The French Creek Trail is an important connector in the regional trail network and connects to larger trails such as the Schuylkill River Trail and the Phoenixville Iron Canal Trail in downtown Phoenixville, as well as to the 140-mile Horse-Shoe Trail which runs from Valley Forge National Historical Park to the Appalachian Trail northwest of Harrisburg.
The Horse-Shoe Trail (HST) is one of the oldest and longest trails in our region. Beginning in Valley Forge National Historical Park, it meanders across numerous counties, townships, and protected lands before reaching its western terminus at the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in central Pennsylvania. In addition to traversing Valley Forge National Historic Park, the yellow-blazed trail traverses Warwick County Park, French Creek State Park, and the Hopewell Big Woods. As its name denotes, the trail is designed and used primarily for hikers and equestrians. The HST is designated as a major greenway of statewide significance in Pennsylvania Greenways: An Action Plan for Creating Connections. Many portions of the trail date back to the 18th century when trails were used to access forests for use as coal when furnaces and forges covered the region.
Schuylkill River Trail
The Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) is one of the most popular and widely used trails in our region and serves as the main connection between Philadelphia and northern Chester County. Large portions of the SRT have been developed, and upon completion, it will run 140 miles from downtown Philadelphia to Fort Mifflin. The SRT connects many other significant trails in the region, including the Chester Valley Trail, the French Creek Trail, the Perkiomen Trail, and the proposed Devault Line Trail. Like many trails in the region, a large portion of the Schuylkill River Trail is comprised of rail-trails. Rail trails are abandoned or unused railroads that have been converted for trail use.
In addition to the trails above, there are many other trails in the region that you can visit to connect to nature. Please visit connectthecircuit.org for an interactive map of the trail network in southeast Pennsylvania. Please contact French & Pickering to learn more about the benefits of trails, our ongoing trail projects, and to find out which trails can be found in your community.
I'm a former member: great source of information from people who stand strong on the environment! - E. Norris, Facebook
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