Along with the French Creek Valley Conservancy, PEC launched a Creek Town Program in order to take full advantage of all the beauty and potential for outdoor recreation that the region has to offer.
Nestled in Northwestern Pennsylvania, French Creek features scenic countryside and historic small towns, making it an ideal region for outdoor recreation and heritage tourism. Realizing all the area had to offer, PEC, along with the French Creek Valley Conservancy (FCVC) launched a Creek Town program in Venango, Saegertown, and Cambridge Springs—all towns located in Crawford County, in the summer of 2012.
With creek access having been gated for years prior to the launch of the Creek Town program, an entry point was re-opened in downtown Cambridge Springs, providing creek users with access to restrooms, shower facilities, picnic shelters, and local dining options. Additionally, FCVC worked with Venango borough officials to build a relationship with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC). WPC purchased property in the Borough and restored it to a natural state.
In order to increase awareness of the Creek Town program’s initiatives, all three towns created a web presence to share information, officially branded themselves as “Creek Towns”, and installed welcome and wayfinding signange. Implementation of the signange program was made possible by way of grant funding through Pennsylvania’s Act 13 program.
In 2014, the program was expanded to Cochranton in Venango County. This community is improving its creek side park, improving signage, and strengthening connections between the Creek, the existing trail, and the business district. There are plans to add at least two additional towns to the program in 2015.