Opening Day for Trails Celebration off & running
WEST WHITELAND >> More than 40 people braved the chilly temperatures to hit the Chester Valley Trail Friday afternoon, in the process kicking off the Opening Day for Trails Celebration.
The Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC) hosted the event, which featured the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR); the Chester County Commissioners; Congressman Ryan A. Costello, R-6; West Whiteland Township; state Rep. Duane Milne, R-167; Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan; and The Circuit Coalition’s Chair, Sarah Clark Stuart.
National Opening Day of Trails, organized by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy, is actually celebrated today, April 8. The day is meant to raise awareness for trails and the importance they have on the community. For the past two years, local trail advocates have hosted a celebration on the Chester Valley Trail to encourage visitors and residents to use the trail. This year, local transportation advocate TMACC thought it would be a good idea to showcase how many organizations are engaged in advocating the trail network throughout the county and region-wide.
“We are proud to host elected and appointed officials, as well as partner organizations and communities who advocate for and invest in trails,” said P. Timothy Phelps, executive director of TMACC. “Opening Day of Trails is a great day to highlight our extraordinary trail network and celebrate on one of Chester County’s greatest recreational and transportation assets, the storied Chester Valley Trail.”
Lauren Imgrund, deputy secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) discussed the continuous work being done through DCNR to support trail growth.
“DCNR supports trails because Pennsylvania residents have continually told us they are important,” Imgrund said.
DCNR is responsible for growing the region’s trail network through partnerships and providing grants and technical assistance support for local recreation projects, trails and greenways, heritage parks, open space and river conservation, and environmental education programs. More than $55 million in state and federal grant funds to help plan and build trails across Pennsylvania.
Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone discussed the importance of continuing to invest in alternative transportation options, like trails, to accommodate Chester County’s growing population.
“By the year 2045, Chester County will be accommodating 146,000 more people, which means we must plan to expand transportation options, while still preserving the unique character of Chester County, which is one of the reasons why our trail network is so important,” Cozzone said.
It’s also important to The Circuit Trails that Chester County is continuing to grow their trail network. Sarah Clark Stuart, Chair of The Circuit Trails, discussed their vision for creating a 750-mile connected trail network in the Greater Philadelphia region.
“Chester County is a part of the Circuit Trail network,” she commented. “With your support of trails and celebrating events like Opening Day we will be able to continue our momentum to connect our system of trails to not only grow Chester County’s network, but the Greater Philadelphia trail network as a whole.”
U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, a member of the Trails Caucus in Congress and long-time supporter of trails, recognized the efforts the commissioners have taken in order to improve trails and get more individuals out to try them,
“Trails season is a reminder and great example of the importance of being good stewards of the environment,” Costello said. “Here in our community, we are lucky to have natural resources, including the Chester Valley Trail, which improve our quality of life.”
Attendees included West Whiteland Township and Police Department, East Whiteland Township, Chester County Planning Commission, the Chester County Health Department, Bike Chester County, Tredyffrin Township, the Chester County Facilities and Parks Department, Bike Chester County, Traffic Planning & Design, and JDRF.
Opening Day for Trails is celebrated nation-wide today, Saturday, April 8th. Chester County trail advocates will celebrate the day along the Chester Valley Trail with fun activities for all ages. To learn more about the event and TMACC visit www.tmacc.org.