The Summit Avenue Reroute . . . at Long Last

Current Projects // May 25, 2017

What better way to celebrate National Trails Day than by breaking ground on a long-awaited trail reroute! FOW and our volunteer trail crew leaders had a great time working there on June 3rd and will continue this work every Saturday throughout June as well, follow this link for more information and to register to volunteer!

As many park users know, a segment of the Yellow Trail currently exits the park at Summit Avenue and Old Line Road, and then follows Summit Avenue for about 1,000 feet before reentering the park. This new sustainable trail segment will facilitate a much improved experience for park users. There will be approximately one mile of new trail that will feature a challenging bike spur and a wet stream crossing. Additionally, we will be closing and restoring approximately 1,500 feet of unofficial trails in the vicinity.

These trail improvements have been a goal of FOW’s and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) for a long time, and FOW is super excited to get this work underway. We want to thank in particular Tom Witmer, Operations Manager of the Natural Lands Restoration Department for PPR, for his insight, guidance, and support.

It is fair to say that this project has created quite a buzz among park users. Dozens of people, particularly from the mountain biking community, have signed up to lend a hand to build this trail. Several volunteer trail crew leaders have been instrumental in helping us get the project off the ground. Dan Mercer and Dave Dannenberg have played a leading role, with valuable input from Lance Lau and Nick Uniatowski.

But how did we get ready to finally start building? A few more folks were involved. First, before getting started on trail improvements near Rex Avenue, professional trail builder Steve Thomas from Terra Firma Trails flagged the preliminary Summit reroute last fall. This winter FOW staff met with several trail crew leaders to take a look at some of the more challenging details and make some adjustments to the initial flag line. In addition to Dan, Dave, Lance, and Nick, we were joined by a few other enthusiastic park users and long-time crew leaders, including Heidi Grunwald, Chuck Uniatowski, Joe Mikuliak, and Lance Honer. This spring, while professional trail builder Valerie Naylor was constructing the new Mt. Airy trail reroute, she took a break to inspect the proposed trail line and made some additional recommendations. Finally, FOW staff met on-site in May with—you guessed it—Dan, Dave, Lance, and Nick, plus Matt Steigler, to investigate the possibility of adding a bike spur off the main trail which will allow us to incorporate a few challenging features. Other folks have also added their input, such as equestrian Susanna Randall who is based at Monastery Stables.

As you can see, trail building is not so simple. FOW is pleased to have been able to work collaboratively with so many people on planning this project and looks forward to engaging even more volunteers during construction. We anticipate this trail project to be ongoing throughout June and July. So if you can’t join us this Saturday, June 3, please sign up to join us on another day.

One last note on trails:  All FOW members are encouraged to join us on Tuesday, June 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Valley Green Inn for our Annual Member’s Meeting. The keynote speaker will be professional trail consultant Chris Bernhardt of Sentieros Consulting, who will present an overview of his preliminary findings in his ongoing assessment of the work accomplished thus far with the Sustainable Trails Initiative and priorities for the next two-to-three years. You can register to attend the meeting here. See you on the trails!

by Peg Shaw, Project Manager