Individual Stewardship

You probably don’t need us to tell you how special Wissahickon Valley Park is. Its 1800 acres provide 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. Keep 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.
  • Avoid using muddy trails – After significant rainfall, or during the spring freeze-thaw cycle, try to avoid the natural surface trails in the park. Allowing trails to properly drain and dry out before use helps to keep them from degrading.

Litter Clean Ups

Be a Wissahero! Wissahickon Valley Park is a huge park that has 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. We are calling on all friends and lovers of the Wissahickon to help the park, the creek, and wildlife by removing litter from the park.

Check out this page to find out how you can safely run your own clean-up in the park.

Habitat Monitoring

We need help from park users like you to log data on flora and fauna in Wissahickon Valley Park. This will help us track habitat changes and fill data gaps in our Ecological Land Management plan, which will inform the priority and type of future habitat restoration projects we do in future.

It’s easy to become a habitat monitor. Check out this page for details!


If you’re not able to get out into the park and volunteer, consider donating or becoming a member to support our stewardship mission.