News // March 17, 2020

Updated Monday, 11/16:

The public health crisis created by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and impact our everyday lives, but Friends of the Wissahickon’s conservation mission in the Wissahickon Valley Park is unwavering. We are here to provide information for you about the Park as it becomes available.

Wissahickon Valley Park remains open and a resource for everyone. We ask individuals to follow the guidelines of the City of Philadelphia’s “Safer At Home” Order, linked here. Please note that wearing a mask outdoors is mandatory in Philadelphia, including in Philadelphia parks.

The quarterly FOW newsletter will be mailed to current FOW members and is available online here. Following guidance from city and state authorities, we have also postponed our public events, group volunteer service days, and guided hikes for the foreseeable future.  

Some park services and amenities will be variable or closed during this time. We will update this list periodically as more information becomes available, and encourage our visitors to consult Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s updates on the situation here.

  • Due to closures and maintenance, there are no public bathroom facilities available in the park at this time.
  • The Valley Green Inn and The Cedars House Cafe are offering outdoor dining and takeout service. Please visit each business’ website for updated information.
  •  We do not recommend parking in the gated lots at the upper parking lot above the Wissahickon Environmental Center, Pachella Field, Blue Bell Hill, and David P. Montgomery Field (formerly Daisy).
  • The Wissahickon Environmental Center is closed to the public until further notice (though still offering public programming – check it out here!)

While our ability to do work in the park may at times be limited to help protect our community, the Wissahickon Valley Park still needs your support. Please consider joining as a member or donating if you are able here. With your continued assistance, FOW will be able to keep stewarding and improving the Wissahickon Valley Park for its more than a million annual visitors.

Visiting the park

We all look to the Wissahickon as a place of refuge in difficult times – and we also need your help to keep it that way.  When you visit the park, please remember your responsibility to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

  • Wear a cloth mask.
  • If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please do not visit the park.
  • If you begin feeling sick in the park, stay away from others and leave the park immediately.
  • If you are an older adult or have serious chronic medical conditions, please consider staying home. Older adults and those with pre-existing chronic medical conditions appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus, according to the WHO.
  • Maintain at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and other park visitors.
  • Keep some distance between you and other hikers whenever possible, especially if anyone shows signs of being sick. Avoid shaking hands or other close contact — but you can still wave hi to others!
  • Gathering in groups is not permitted.

And if you’re looking for FOW-approved things to do at home or in the Wissahickon, we have lots of suggestions!

  • Check out FOW’s Virtual Valley, with educational materials, games, crafts, and more to bring the Wissahickon home with you!
  • Take backyard birding to the next level by tracking your observations with the E-bird app. It’s easy to use and records your sightings and locations, while allowing you to see what other birders are seeing in the area.  Share your findings with the hashtags #ebird, #myebirdhistory, and #Wissahickon!
  • Likewise, the iNaturalist app lets you keep track of local wildlife species. This year’s crowdsourced observations for the city are here.

The Wissahickon Valley Park is an important resource that will always need our support. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @FOWissahickon, and sign up for our weekly e-newsletter for important park news as well as interesting park information to keep you connected to the Wissahickon – while in the safety of your home.