Greenway Vision

Pa. Greenways Program Vision

Pennsylvania and its many partners will develop an outstanding network of greenways across the Commonwealth, creating an asset highly valued by Pennsylvanians and enhancing the quality of life for all. This network of greenways will connect Pennsylvania’s open space, natural landscape features, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites, and urban and rural communities. Greenways will become one of the Commonwealth’s most powerful tools to achieve sustainable growth and livable communities.

What Is A Greenway?

A greenway is a corridor of open space. Greenways vary greatly in scale, from narrow ribbons of green that run through urban, suburban, and rural areas to wider corridors that incorporate diverse natural, cultural and scenic features. They can incorporate both public and private property, and can be land- or water-based. They may follow old railways, canals, or ridge tops, or they may follow stream corridors, shorelines or wetlands, and include water trails for non-motorized craft. Some greenways are recreational corridors or scenic byways that may accommodate motorized and non-motorized vehicles. Others function almost exclusively for environmental protection and are not designed for human passage. Greenways differ in their location and function, but overall, a greenway will protect natural, cultural and scenic resources, provide recreational benefits, enhance the natural beauty and the quality of life in neighborhoods and communities, and stimulate economic development opportunities.

Governor Launches Pa. Greenways Action Plan, August 2001

The Commonwealth’s statewide greenways action plan, entitled Pennsylvania Greenways, An Action Plan for Creating Connections, sets the direction for a new greenways program to establish a statewide network of greenways, and a greenway in every local community by 2020. The plan is the result of partnership and cooperation between the Greenways Partnership Commission, state agencies, and greenway stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth. The Action Plan advances an aggressive program organized around four goals:

  • Plan and Build Greenway Connections
  • Create a Greenways Organizational Framework
  • Provide Greenways Funding
  • Provide Greenways Technical Assistance and Outreach


These overarching program goals are supported by 12 implementation strategies with corresponding actions and targets that will make the Pennsylvania Greenways “Vision” a reality. Highlights of the 12 Implementation Strategies include: Identifying a statewide network of greenways “hubs and spokes” that make connections between parks, conservation areas, cultural/historic sites and communities using natural corridors and recreational trails.

Promoting the development of Greenway Plans by all 67 counties as integral parts of their planning efforts. These plans establish the local planning foundation upon which a statewide network of greenways is constructed.

Developing a Greenways Geographic Information System (GIS) capable of storing, mapping and analyzing geographical and informational data about local, regional and statewide greenway networks.

Developing strategies to integrate greenways concepts into Pennsylvania’s schools and higher education institutions, and training programs for greenways partners.

Launching a Greenways Informational Clearinghouse that will serve as a one-stop shop for information and news.

The Program will be launched and managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), as directed by the Governor, with cooperation from other agencies. One of the first initiatives will be the creation of the Pennsylvania Greenways Clearinghouse.

What is the Greenways Partnership Commission?

Recognizing the substantial value that greenways bring to communities and regions across the Commonwealth, Governor Tom Ridge formed the Pennsylvania Greenways Partnership Commission in 1998 via Executive Order 1998-3. Since its formation, the Commission has been advising and assisting the Commonwealth with developing a model Statewide Greenways Plan and Program.

Contact Information

For more information on the Greenways Program, or for copies of the plan:

Alex MacDonald
Greenways Program Coordinator
Tel: (717) 772-4586
Fax: (717) 787-9577