Harrisburg, PA -- Today, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined trail supporters and government officials in three counties in announcing official designation of the 85-mile Schuylkill to Susquehanna Greenway as a Statewide Major Greenway.
Spanning Chester, Lancaster and Montgomery counties, the state’s newest greenway enables users to travel between the Schuylkill and Susquehanna rivers.
“This designation of the Statewide Major Greenway elevates the closing of existing gaps and completion of the trail to DCNR’s highest trail-funding priority,” said Dunn. “DCNR views closing priority trail gaps essential, as they form the major ‘arteries’ of the statewide land and water trail network, which confers recreation, health, transportation, economic, tourism and other benefits to residents throughout the commonwealth.”
The greenway follows the routes of the Chester Valley Trail in Montgomery and Chester counties, and the Enola Low-Grade Rail Trail and Northwest Lancaster County River Trail in Lancaster County. When complete the greenway will be approximately 85 miles long and link the Circuit Trails Network of Greater Philadelphia to the Susquehanna River.
The Statewide Major Greenway designation was sought and supported in a combined effort by Montgomery, Chester and Lancaster counties. Facilitated by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), extensive planning meetings of officials from the three counties were held to address how existing planned trails could be combined into a Statewide Major Greenway.
“Lancaster County and Philadelphia have an historic and storied economic and social connection that the Schuylkill to Susquehanna Trail commemorates and reinforces,” said Pennsylvania Environmental Council Vice President Patrick Starr. “I expect that this trail once fully connected will become one of the most heavily trafficked in the commonwealth and will be a boon to local recreation and tourism, too.”
“Regional trails like the Schuylkill to Susquehanna Greenway are the ribbons that tie communities together,” said Brian O’Leary, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission. “The small towns and agricultural lands along the planned route of the Schuylkill to Susquehanna Greenway are just the type that can benefit most from having a regional trail like this pass through. We in Chester County look forward to continued partnership with neighboring counties and the State of Pennsylvania to make this trail a reality.”
A multi-use trail corridor, the greenway combines existing county-supported trails into one extensive greenway offering recreation, transportation, economic, and health benefits to residents and visitors in southeastern and south-central Pennsylvania. It will connect users from Falmouth, Lancaster County, to Norristown, Montgomery County.
“Lancaster County has witnessed firsthand how a trail project can spur economic activity in our struggling smaller urban communities,” said Michael Domin of the Lancaster County Planning Commission. “Extending the Enola Low Grade Trail as part of the S&S Greenway and connecting it to other small towns along the way is going to draw a host of new trail users and have an even bigger impact on the economic vitality on all of the towns along the corridor in eastern Pennsylvania.”
“Montgomery County recognizes that trails enhance the quality of life for those who utilize them -- as well as those who work and live near them,” said Bill Hartman, section chief of Trails & Open Space Planning for the Montgomery County Planning Commission. “This will certainly hold true for the Schuylkill to Susquehanna (S&S) Greenway. We are excited that the current construction of the county's Chester Valley Trail will complete the easternmost extent of the S&S Greenway, connecting Pennsylvania’s southeastern communities with those in the southcentral portion of the state.”
Statewide Major Greenways are existing or planned long-distance corridors, at least 50 miles long, that pass through two or more counties and are recognized in official planning documents. Since 2001, DCNR has maintained a map of the state’s major greenways (PDF) and considers them to be the highest priority for trail funding.
Pennsylvania is a national leader in trail development, providing its citizens and visitors with more than 12,000 miles of trails across the commonwealth, from gentle pathways threading through miles of preserved greenways, to remote, rugged trails scaling the state’s highest mountains.
DCNR addresses more than 600 trails covering almost 12,000 miles in Pennsylvania.
MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Brady, 717-705-2225