Partners in Park Stewardship: Friends of the Cresheim Trail

Conservation // November 02, 2015

The Cresheim Trail continues to thrive within Fairmount Park through the efforts of Friends of the Cresheim Trail (FoCT). Thanks to the support of a dedicated group of volunteers and the generous lending of tools and expertise by the Friends of the Wissahickon, the trail is now open within Fairmount Park. The trail extends from a main trailhead at Allens Lane and Lincoln Drive, through to Germantown Avenue, and includes a one-mile loop. Two trailheads on the north side of Cresheim Road provide access to both the loop trail and Germantown Avenue from the nearby Allens Lane train station. A spur in the section south of Cresheim Road leads to an entrance on Emlen Street and connects the Cresheim Trail to the rest of the Wissahickon trail network. (See FOW’s Map of the Wissahickon Valley Park.) The Cresheim Trail connects to the street grid and sidewalk grids in Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill as well as the trail system in the Wissahickon. Year round, the trail sees daily use by joggers, hikers, dog walkers, and mountain bikers.

Friends of the Cresheim Trail volunteers recently constructed a natural wood bench at the “Grotto,” where the trail passes beneath a dramatic stony outcropping above Cresheim Valley Drive across from Navajo Street. Constructed from a fallen tree, this bench provides a resting spot with a lovely view over Cresheim Valley Drive to the patch of forest on the other side.

The City of Philadelphia is negotiating with PECO to acquire the old Pennsylvania Rail Road right-of-way to complete the Philadelphia portion of the Cresheim Trail over the Germantown Avenue Bridge to Stenton Avenue.

After reaching the city limits at Stenton Avenue, the proposed Cresheim Trail will continue into Montgomery County to connect with the Green Ribbon Trail in Flourtown. There is also a planned connection with the Tookany-Tacony Trail in Montgomery County. This off-road transportation option will connect pubic transit, trails, neighborhoods, schools, and religious institutions in two counties and three townships. Part of this Circuit, the Cresheim Trail has the explicit support and is on the plans of regional and local planning commissions.

The Friends of the Cresheim Trail invites you to explore the built portion of the Cresheim Trail and further asks that you consider joining in FoCT’s efforts. You can support the trail by volunteering, becoming a member, joining the FoCT board, and by writing to District 8 Councilwoman Cindy Bass to let her know of your support.

Building trails requires continuous effort over the long term. Success is predicated on community support. Please enjoy your trails, and please, let your voice be heard.

by Susan Dannenberg, Friends of the Cresheim Trail