Schuylkill Highlands

Top Ten Accomplishments for 2010

Goal 1: Creating Trails and Connecting Visitors to the Outdoors

  1. Purchase and transfer of the Yelenoc and Sheeder properties (279 acres) by Natural Lands Trust to the PA Bureau of State Parks. This purchase will allow access from the Schuylkill River Trail into French Creek State Park. Further, this allows a connection to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. The new Trail being planned from the Schuylkill River Trail through these new acquisitions will connect to the new Boars Back Trail being completed by Chester County form St. Peter’s Village to Elverson. The completion of this land acquisition has set the stage for our signature trail project “The Big Woods Trail” to effectively connect five national historic sites (Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, Daniel Boone National Historic Site, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Valley Forge National Historic Site, and indirectly to Independence National Historic Park). PA DCNR Department of Facilities staff has flagged a potential trail alignment through a portion of the trail in FCSP in 2010. Additional supportive funding was obtained from William Penn Foundation for completing a Trail Concept Plan for this New Big Woods Trail, along with some assistance from NPS RTCA.
  2. Schuylkill River Trail construction completed for a 5.9 mile trail gap from Cromby to Parkerford.
  3. Schuylkill River Trail Phoenixville gap easement negotiations were advanced to prepare for eventual construction of this trail section.
  4. The Angelica Creek Trail Feasibility Study was completed for this new trail from the Schuylkill River Trail in Reading south to the Pennsylvania State Parks Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center.


Goal 2: Encouraging Sustainable Development

  1. The SH Compatible Economic Development Plan draft was completed for the Middle Schuylkill (Hopewell Big Woods and Reading to Valley Forge corridor). Completion is planned for the second quarter of 2011. A delegation of seven partners were sent to the Balancing Nature and Commerce workshop held at The Conservation Fund in Shaefferstown, WV to kick off this effort with the consultant. Numerous partner input and task force meetings have provided guidance for this plan.
  2. The Upper Perkiomen Green Up Plan was funded and efforts began for this green infrastructure and sustainability plan for the Upper Perkiomen area.


Goal 3: Conserving, Protecting, and Stewarding Lands, Watersheds, and Habitats

  1. The Schuylkill Highlands Natural Resource Greenways Study advanced. Scientific interviews were completed with area experts, background mapping began and Greenway Resource areas defined.
  2. Several land acquisitions and/or conservation easements served to conserve high valued natural resource lands including the Kulp property (22 acres), Nueva Esperanza (35 acres), Gehman ( 202 acres) , Hurchalla ( 60.5 acres), Bates ( 83 acres), Wineberry ( 31 acres), Hill School Phase 2 ( 48 acres), Gambone Coventry Hunt ( 9.6 acres), Bentley ( 64 acres) and a 2 acre easement on Sheeder Mill Road.


Goal 4: Promoting the Schuylkill Highlands CLI

  1. Several communications tools were created and utilized including the Schuylkill Highlands CLI Fact Sheet, a new Schuylkill Highlands website was launched, and constant contact emails sent to partners with updates. A June landscape wide celebration for four completed projects was a huge success with great press exposure.


Goal 5: Administer Mini-Grant Program

  1. The Schuylkill Highlands Mini-Grant Program was established and funded by both PA DCNR and the William Penn Foundation, and administered jointly by both Natural Lands Trust and Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area. Two rounds of funded projects have supported several projects that advance both Natural Resource Conservation and Nature Based Tourism projects in the SH CLI.