You probably don’t need us to tell you how special Wissahickon Valley Park is. It’s 1800 acres provides habitat to wildlife, refuge & recreation to over a million visitors per year, and protects the drinking water for one third of Philadelphians. The park can’t take care of itself, however. It needs responsible park users and stewards to keep this special place clean and sustainable for generations to come. Here are a few simple ways that you can make a big difference while visiting the park!
Leave No Trace
One of the best ways to steward the park is to minimize your impact whenever you visit. You can accomplish this by adhering to Leave No Trace principles. These include:
- Staying on trails – Wissahickon Valley Park is a fragile ecosystem filled with struggling native plants, ground-nesting birds, and constant erosion concerns. Staying on established, official trails helps to keep the park healthier.
- Carrying out what you carry in – Don’t leave anything behind! Be sure to carry out any trash or materials you’ve brought with you on your visit. If walking a dog, be sure to bring poop bags with you and dispose of waste in a trash can.
- Keeping your dogs on leash – We all know that dogs LOVE the Wissahickon. Be sure to keep your 4-legged friends on a leash when visiting the park. This not only keeps them safe (we have a lot of mountain bikers on trails, and ground nesting yellow jackets), but also shows respect to other park users and resident wildlife.
- Avoid disturbing wildlife or the habitat – Wissahickon Valley Park is home to hundreds of species of wildlife that all need a safe, clean habitat to thrive in. Don’t approach wildlife, and don’t remove anything natural from the park. Keeps your dogs on leash, and keep a close eye on younger children.
- Respecting other park users – The park is enjoyed by over 1 million visits per year, who all come for different activities. Be kind and respectful of everyone! Downhill hikers yield to uphill hikers. Keep your music to a minimum volume.
Clean Up Litter
Be a Wissahero! Wissahickon Valley Park is a huge park that is visited by over 1 million visits per year and is surrounded on all sides by busy roads. The downside of this fantastic accessibility is an accumulation of litter in the park. Consider showing the park some love by picking up trash.
Check out this page to find out how you can safely run your own clean-up in the park.
Smash Spotted Lanternflies
The Spotted Lanternfly is a highly destructive pest that has recently invaded the area. Learn to identify and remove this highly invasive insect and their eggs from trees here!
We suggest turning your hikes into a scavenger hike to locate lanternflies and their eggs, and smash as many as possible. After going out and smashing these pests, fill out this field report so that we can log your volunteer hours!
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.
1800 acres is a lot of space to keep our eyes on. You can help us by reporting non-emergency damages to the park, such as down trees and damaged structures. Read more about how to do this here.
Donate & Become a Member
If you haven’t already, please consider donating or becoming a member.