After an eventful spring season, the Schuylkill River Town Program is gearing up for another summer of getting people on to both the river and trail!
The season kicked off on April 16 when the Schuylkill River Towns celebrated Opening Day for trails with a scavenger hunt event that linked trail users with local businesses. Participants were given River Town “passports” that showed them how to use the trail to reach local businesses in Phoenixville, Norristown, and Conshohocken where they would receive The Circuit Trails swag.
The Action Teams in each town worked together to organize the event and it was exciting to have multiple towns coordinating one event, highlighting how rivers are corridors that connect us to each other.
In May, Schuylkill River Towns hosted a walking tour of Lock 60 in partnership with the Schuylkill Canal Association. Participants learned about the history, wildlife, and legacy of this unique part of the river. Schuylkill River Towns also worked with a local botanist to host a walking tour that highlighted edible plants growing naturally along the trail as well as a freshwater fishing class to attract new and experienced anglers to the Schuylkill.
From June to September, the program is organizing a series of kayak tours in Bridgeport, Norristown, and Mont Clare. Participants will discover the history and natural beauty of the River Towns from the vantage point of the river itself. Some of the tours in the series have additional themes, including youth and moonlight paddles. Funding from the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, the Phoenixville Police Athletic League, the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), and the Darden Foundation are supporting the kayak series.
Schuylkill River Towns is also organizing events on the trail. During National Trail Month in June, a bike trip from Conshohocken to Phoenixville and back will highlight the breweries and distilleries that call the River Towns home and depend on the waters of the Schuylkill. The program is also offering tours to explore the natural heritage in the towns.
With funding from the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Schuylkill River Towns is also working with Montgomery County Community College to create a Pop-up Art Gallery in Norristown that will draw attention to the proximity of the trail to downtown Norristown.
PEC believes that the programing created by the Schuylkill River Towns Program builds a connection between residents and their river that has been absent for decades. By enabling communities to access their river and recreate on it, we create lifelong stewards of our natural resources.