Trails and Public Lands

The impulse to defend and care for the natural world doesn’t always come naturally to humans. But a single positive outdoor experience – better yet, a series of formative experiences – can spark a lifelong commitment to an ethic of environmental stewardship. 


PEC aims to create as many of these experiences as possible, for as many Pennsylvanians as possible, by supporting and promoting public investment in our outdoor recreational assets. In particular, we focus on the planning and development of trails and trail networks to create connections within and among communities – not only getting people outdoors, but getting them where they need to go. 


Recognizing that trails can also provide a path forward for transitioning local economies, we work with neighborhoods, towns, and cities to realize such opportunities in ways that directly support the community and actively involve community members. We believe a commitment to inclusion at the outset leads to more successful projects, and ultimately to more just and equitable outcomes for all Pennsylvanians.


With a statewide perspective, PEC facilitates regional partnerships of local governments, agencies, and allied non-profits to envision, plan, and implement trail systems and projects. Our expertise and years of experience in project planning, design, and development accelerates projects from mere concept to reality.

The Circuit Trails

PEC was instrumental in the creation of The Circuit Trails in southeast Pennsylvania, helping to lay the groundwork by way of the East Coast Greenway project. We remain closely involved in leadership of the 56-member Circuit Trails Coalition as the initiative approaches its goal of 800 connected trail miles across Greater Philadelphia.

Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition

Spanning 48 counties in four states, the Industrial Heartland Trails network will eventually total more than 1,450 miles of multi-use trail linking the western Pennsylvania cities of Erie and Pittsburgh with neighbors in Ohio, West Virginia, and New York. Since helping to launch the effort in 2013, PEC has coordinated and provided support for ground-level planning along four of the IHTC’s eight regional corridors.

Northeastern Pennsylvania Trails Forum

Since 2013, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Trails Forum has been convening trail organizations, environmental and educational nonprofits, land trusts and conservancies, and agencies from every level of government for annual symposia and quarterly conversations focused on building and improving trails across the region. As external lead for the Pocono Forests and Waters Conservation Landscape, PEC is a founding member of the Forum.