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THE WISSAHICKON West Valley Green & Cricket Roads ).Iightly realigned (yellow) for walking trail unty ITrail to ! River Trail







Feasibility Study and Master Plan Funded by:

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THE WILLIAM PENN FOUNDATION Philadelphia Pennsylvania September 1998


In addition to being a beautiful public garden, the Morris Arboretwn is actively involved in environmental education and community enviromnental projects. Through outreach and education programs, the Morris Arboretum is able to reach thousands of people who have not yet visited our public garden. The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link project is one such effort. Generous funding from The William Pem1 Foundation enabled the Morris Arboretum to facilitate the creation of the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link Master Plan. The recommendations that are included herein envision a far reaching legacy that will enhance our regional recreation facilities, provide environmental education opportunities and conserve and protect fragile enviromnental systems. Through the year long plalming process, we have consulted with literally hundreds of experts and community representatives. I would like to take this opportw1ity to thank each and every person and organization that participated in the plam1ing process. The input and guidance provided by our partners has enabled an evolutionary process which has grown into this comprehensive set of recommendations. I hope as you read you will realize, as I have, that the great strength of the Master Plan is the way in which each element works to support one key concept: we can work together to protect OUf environment and enhance the health and well being of OU f commw1ities.



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Paul Meyer, The F. Otto Haas Director Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania September 1998

Th p. Wissahicknn Rinarian Rp.sinratinn Trail !.ink Mat;lp.r Plan

Table of Contents

I. II.



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Executive Summary .................................................................................................................................... 1 Project Assignment & Background ....................................... 4 Project Design Team & Partners ... H........... H..... H..................... H.... H.. 5 Project Vision and Goals ............H............................................H................................ 6 P~~fuilS~~

9 Journey Descriptions ....................................................... 14 Multi-use Trail ......HHH.............H................................................................HH.................................. 14 Walking Trail 17 VII. Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Program. HH .H...H ......... 20 H

••••••••• • •

• •

• •••••••• • •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Watershed Management ................................................ ......................................................... 21 Landscape Restoration ........................................................................................................ 25 VIII. Where Do We Go From Here? ........................... ...........................................................HH..... 34 IX. Cost and Budgets..H............H .. HHHH.HH 37 Appendix A ............................................................................H.................................H..................................H...H.....H...H... 38 Appendix B .................................................................................................................................................................................. 39

The Wissahickon Rinarial1 Restoration Trail Mas/pr Plan TT

L Executive Summary The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania received a $150,000 grant from The William Penn Foundation to coordinate and support a feasibility study and the creation of a master plan for a multi-use path and riparian restoration within the corridor of the Wissahickon Creek between Fairmount Park in Philadelphia County and Fort Washington S tate Park in Montgomery County. The feasibility study was completed in May of 1998. The publication of this Master Plan in September, 1998 concludes the scope of work as directed by The William Penn Foundation grant. The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link Master Plan is a set of conceptual and specific recommendations for the design and installation of a riparian restoration and trail link system. A brief summary of these recommendations follows.

Wissahickon Trail System Recommendations 1. Separate different types of user groups to meet different needs and expectations and avoid conflicts. 2. Designate County and State Park lands adjacent to the Wissahickon Creek within the project corridor as an area for habitat conservation and enhancement. Limit trail use within this corridor to pedestrians only. Locate trails within this area to reduce the impact of their use on wildlife habitat. 3. Design the trail system for the safety and security of users and neighbors. Provide access for maintenance and security vehicles. This report incorporates recommendations for bridges, road crossings, signage, parking, and call boxes.

4. Provide amenities that enhance the user's experience. Trail users should have ready access to parking, restroom facilities, educational and orientation programming. 5. Establish a permanent Trail Advisory Council that will oversee design, maintenance and management of the trail system. An effective council will include representatives from the local community, parks departments, county and municipal agencies, landowners and other organizations with a vested interest in the trail system. For a summary of trail alignments, readers are directed to the Wissahickon Trail System Map see page 3. For a detailed description of the elements of the Wissahickon Trail System see section V, page 9.

Summary of Riparian Restoration Program Recommendations 1. Designate County and State Park lands adjacent to the Wissahickon Creek within the project corridor as Riparian Park. Focus restoration and interpretive programming in this area on habitat conservation and enhancement. 2. Identify a coordinating agency to seek funding for restoration efforts and organize a consulting group of technical advisors, the Restoration Advisory Team. 3. Charge the Restoration Advisory Team with a specific series of strategic tasks to be completed within an eighteen month time frame.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 1

4. Frame all restoration activities and programs within a watershed context. Acknowledge that each area of the watershed is dependent on the actions and activities that occur upstream. 5. Engage citizens of the local watershed community in planning and execution of restoration activities. 6. Develop partnerships with local schools so that school programming is incorporated in restoration activities. For a full description of the Master Plan recommendations for Riparian Restoration see section VII page 20.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 2


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Master Plan Wissahickon Trail Link System Prepared by Andl opogon Assoclal es. Ud.

Se pie rn ber 1998

EnvIronmentAl COnSl.lltllnts

Tile Wissailickol1 Riparian Restoratioll Trail Link Ma ster Plan 3

II. Project Assignment and Background The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania received a $150,000 grant from The William Penn Foundation to coordinate and support a feasibility study and the creation of a master plan for a multi-use path and riparian restoration within the corridor of the Wissahickon Creek between Fairmount Park in Philadelphia County and Fort Washington State Park in Montgomery County. The Morris Arboretum, located in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties, is situated in the center of the project corridor. As an advocate for natural resources education, research and demonstration programs, and with a history of active community partnerships, the Morris Arboretum was ideally positioned to coordinate the planning process.

Public meetings were held in the spring of 1998 to solicit community comment and input. The feasibility study was completed in May of 1998 and the publication of this Master Plan in September, 1998 concludes the scope of work as directed by The William Penn Foundation grant. The favorable results of the feasibility study have led to the assembly and publication of the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link Master Plan, a set of conceptual and specific recommendations for the design and installation of a trail link system and riparian restoration.

The planning process was initiated in August 1997 with the addition of a full time Morris Arboretum staff person to coordinate the feasibility study. The Morris Arboretum contracted with Andropogon Associates, Ltd., Cahill Associates and Campbell, Thomas Inc., for consulting, design and engineering services. Working closely with Montgomery County Planning Commission, partnering organizations were identified and representatives gathered for a series of meetings throughout the fall of 1997 and spring of 1998.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 4

Part III. Project Design Team and Project Planning Partners


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Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania



Andropogon Associates, Ltd.

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Ecological Planning & Design

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Environmental Consultants

Trail Consultant

The fol/owing organizations parlicipated in and cOnlribured to planning for the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link project.

Academy of Natural Sciences, The Patrick Center for Environmental Research Carson Valley School Creek Lane Neighbors Chestnut Hill College Chestnut Hill Historical Society Conservation Fund Erdenheim Farm Fainnount Park Conmlission Friends of the Wissahickon Friends of Fort Washington State Park Montgomery County Conservation District Montgomery County Lands Trust Montgomery County Parks Department Montgomery County Planning Commission Natural Lands Trust PA DCNR-Fort Washington State Park, Bureau of Forestry, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation PA Department of Environmental Protection PennDOT Philadelphia Water Department Philadelphia Cricket Club Schuylkill Riverkeeper Springfield Township Stroud Water Research Center Whitemarsh Township Whitemarsh Valley Country Club Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service USDA Forest Service USDI Fish & Wildlife Service

The Wissahickon Ril1Grian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan S

Part IV. Project Vision and Goals

As originally articulated in the application for funding to The William PerU1 Foundation, the feasibility study and master planning were undertaken to examine the creation of a multi -use trail and riparian restoration within the corridor of the Wissahickon Creek between Fairmount Park and Fort Washington State Park. From the outset, the planning team envisioned a connecting link that would enable a person travelling this corridor to experience the variety of natural and cultural resources within and between these two parks.

Forbidden Drive - Fairmount Park

Erdenheim Fann

Bloomfield Farm - Moms Arboretum

Forbidden Drive represents a community gateway through the Wissahickon gorge into the heaJt of Philadelphia. This scenic, natural and recreation resource serves hundreds of thousands of park visitors every year. At the northern end of the project corridor is Fort Washington State Park. In the 1920's, Philadelphia Parks Comrnision purchased Fort Wa shington Sta te Pa rk almost 600 acres ofland with the intent of preserving its history as a Revolutionary War encampment and extending the protected natural lands along the Wissahickon Creek. More recently, as part of Montgomery County's Open Space Plan, the County proposed a network of trails including the Cross County Trail. When complete, this trail will connect Norristown/Conshohocken with Lower Moreland Township using a trail and utility corridor adjacent to Fort Washington State Park.

Thf Wissahicknn Rinarian Rfstn mtinn Trail Mastfr Plan Ii

Mont,Q:omery Couuly Trail Plan



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The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link project provides a key opportunity to connect the trail systems of Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties . Fairmount Park and Fort Washington Park are connected by the Wissahickon Creek. " This tributary of the Schuylkill River has served as a highway for commerce, as a recreation resource and as a drinking water supply for many centuries. As early as the mid 19th century, the impact of industry and deforestation on the quality of the local water supplies became apparent. Today, the importance of our forested river systems are even more critical, serving human needs and as vital continuous connections between fragmented habitats of plants and animals. Without the educated assistance and support of the local community, conservation and restoration efforts can have only minimal long term impacts. It is clear that the protection of our waterways and associated habitats requires the support and participation of the local community.

Families are typical trail users.

Thf Wissa hickon Rinarial1 Rf s/omtiol1 Trail Mas/f r Plan


The vision of the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link project is to design a scheme for shared use in the project corridor that provides for the recreation, education and enjoyment of the local community while preserving and enhancing the river corridor's protective and nurturing role for plants and animals. Primary goals of the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link Master Plan are to: •

Connect Philadelphia and Montgomery County trail systems Improve management practices throughout the watershed and improve water quality

Protect and restore indigenous forest ecosystems

Contribute to the science of restoration

Involve the local community in restoration through training, education and volunteer programs

"7JruIe a/Ul humall indushy had blVkm in llpoll tlie qlliet of the coullhy same, alld had d,iocll alit ti,e descendants of tlte allcient dwel1el5 at tlie coullhy sents, some years be(O/e till' City autllOlities made tlte unwelcome discovety that tlleir cup of water was in danget· of becomillg a poisoned elmlice. No sooner did tI,is suspicion take a tallgible slmpe than tlte lIIi'I! of actiOll urged plVmpt 1I1i'11511re5 to put almy tlte incipimt evil." FainnoWlt Park Commission Records, 31 December 1868

Circa 1934--Philadelphin as it was inUlgined prior to European settlement.

The Wissahickon Rinarian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan R

The proposed trail system has two major components : a Multi-use Trail along Northwestem and Stenton Avenues and a Walking Trail along the Wissahickon Creek. This system reflects the input and participation of the many project partners as well as representatives of the local corrununity. The conceptual design is customized to the special conditions of this stretch of the riparian corridor of the Wissahickon Creek.

V. Proposed Trail System

Meet different user needs and expectations

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.,. The Tra il System includes walking, biking, and local trails. The hatched area indicates the publicly owned ripa rian corridor along the Wissahickon that is proposed for designa tion as Riparian Park.

The most consistently expressed concems by potential users reflected the fact that different users have different needs and expectations. The trail suited to a bicycle commuter will vary considerably from one that is right for a birdwatcher or a family on a weekend outing. No single trail or trail type can meet all needs successfully. Equally important is the fact that the landscape is not suited to all potential users. The County and State lands along the Wissahickon Creek are first and foremost an irreplaceable habitat and of primary importance in sustaining water-related resources. Only recreational uses that are consistent with its value as a natural area are suitable here .

Designate Riparian Park area for habitat conservation, restoration and education The publicly owned lands along the Wissahickon Creek in the project corridor constitute the single most important opportunity for sustaining many locally threatened native plants and animals. Designation of these public lands as a Riparian Park will focus public anention on the need to conserve and protect diminishing habitats. Management for conserving biodiversity will in tum contribute to water quality and improved stormwater management. Through the use of educational and interpretive programming, visitors will have opportunities to not only enjoy the natural resources of the park, but also leam how to care for and protect them. Riparian Park will integrate recreational uses into these larger goals.

The Wissal!ickoll Rinariall Restoration Trail Master Plan 9

Three design guidelines for the trail system emerged during the planning discussions: •

Provide for different types of user groups and prevent conflicts

Provide a walking trail in natural areas that serves recreation needs consistent with the conservation of existing habitat

Provide a wider hard-surfaced trail for recreational travelers and multiple uses outside of sensitive natural areas

Design the trail system to accommodate maintenance and maximize security and safety The long-term success of any trail depends on maintenance and security. These concerns must be incorporated into the planning and design from the outset because they are of primary importance to building project support with neighbors and the local community. Potential maintenance demands on this trail could be above average due to the impacts of periodic flooding and the potential use associated with a large local population. The trail design intentionally limits paved surfaces and facilities in the floodway. Montgomery County has adopted a set of safety and design standards that meet national criteria established by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials). These standards will be incorporated into the final trail design. The County is also committed to providing a plan and resources for the maintenance and security of the Multi-use Trail as part of the Countywide trail system. Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association has agreed to coordinate maintenance activities with the State and County Parks along the Walking Trail. Policing of the trails should be addressed by cooperative planning between State Park rangers and local

municipal police authorities. The creation of a Trail Advisory Council, which should include representatives of the various organizations and individuals with a vested interest in the trail system, will insure that there will be continued monitoring of maintenance and security programs. Parking will be accommodated in existing facilities at trailheads in Fort Washington State Park and street parking near Fairmount Park. In addition, shared facilities might be negotiated with local businesses. For example, Fort Washington State Park and the Philadelphia Cricket Club Golf Course currently share parking facilities on West Valley Green Road. Flourtown Commons, on Bethlehem Pike, has parking space that is not fully in use on weekends. Sharing, rather than building new parking lots, is one way to contain costs and demonstrate good watershed management. The following criteria were incorporated in the trail design: •

Design for flood conditions

Meet or exceed AASHTO design standards and Montgomery County standards for security, safety and maintenance

Design trails to accommodate maintenance and emergency vehicle use

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 10

The only motorized vehicles on any Imil in the system will be limited to maintenance and security.

Clear sigtUlge is integral to appropriate tmil use. Signs along the trail will orient visitors, designate appropriate uses and address education and interpretation.

A full page Trail

System Map is



The Trail System The Multi-use Trail from Northwestern Avenue to the Cross County Trail on StenIOn Avenue is intended as a single project that would complete the bicycling and walking connection from Forbidden Drive in Fairmount Park to the Montgomery County and Fort Washington State Park trail systems. The Walking Trail is proposed for completion in two phases. Phase One, from Stenton Avenue north through State and County Park land, closely follows the route of the existing Green Ribbon Trail and occurs entirely on publicly held land. While the continuation of a walking trail along the Wissahickon from Stenton Avenue south to Fairmount Park is a desirable goal, the lands along the Creek are privately owned. Issues of privacy, security and maintenance must be addressed and resolved. For these reasons, Phase Two will require a longer time frame for completion and design specifi cations are not addressed in this plan. However, with the installation of the Multi-use Trail, there will be an alternate route for pedestrians to connect with Fairmount Park. Management of the Trail System from design through ongoing maintenance will be overseen by the Trail Advisory Council. An effective council will represent the interests and concerns of the local community, landowners, parks' departments, county and municipal agencies and other interested organizations. The Trail Advisory Council will coordinate efforts to design, fund , maintain, monitor and patrol the trail system for safety, security and management. The Trail Advisory Council will formulate the participating partners' responsibilities and meet regularly to insure that issues are addressed promptly and effectively. It is expected that Montgomery County and the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association will take leadership roles on the Trail Advisory Council.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoratioll Trail Lillk Master Plan 11

The Walking Trail

Green Ribbon Tm il & eroded stream banks.

The existing path along the Wissahickon, The Green Ribbon Trail, is too close to the Creek in many locations and will be relocated to reduce negative impacts on streambank stability. Bicycles will not be permitted on the Walking Trail and will be directed to the Multi-use Trail. Where Creek access is desired, the soil surface will be suitably reinforced to handle foot traffic without damage. Stepping stone trails, boardwalks over wet areas, fishing platforms, overlooks and rest areas may all be used to give the visitor the opportunity to enjoy the water 's edge. The project team initiated discussions with the PA Fish Corrunission to evaluate the sites and seasonality of the current trout-stocking program to better address concerns related to restoration. The following guidelines were developed for the Walking Trail in Riparian Park: •

Limit trail use to pedestrians

Relocate existing paths where damage has occurred

Reinforce and manage streamside access Integrate environmental education, habitat restoration and recreation

The general route of the Walking Trail will follow the existing Green Ribbon Trail. The Walking Trail will be relocated and/or reinforced to protect the streambank landscape.

I-- 4' ---t·....I__• - - - 8' -----.....1.1-- 4' --I Man aged woodland edge

Compacted gravel over stone base

The Walking Trail will be designed to accommodate limited foot traffic. Unpaved surfaces will be reinforced where necessary to limit damage or provide a comfortable journey. The trail will be wide enough for emergency and maintenance vehicles.

Managed woodland edge

The Wissahickol1 Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 12

State Park and local spur trails During the planning process, the design team examined many potential alignments for the Multi-use Trail and strategies for linking as many community resources to the trail system as possible. From these discussions, three opportunities for potential spur trails were identified: â&#x20AC;˘

Community trail from the intersection of Stenton and Northwestern Avenues through Mount St. Joseph's property to Bethlehem Pike â&#x20AC;˘ Community trail from the intersection of Stenton and Northwestern Avenues through Carson Valley School to Bethlehem Pike â&#x20AC;˘ State Park trail into Riparian Park from Bethlehem Pike using the Reading Railroad trestle

I_ Grass Margin Spilt rail fence


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-I Grass MalQln Spill rail fence

The Multi-use Trail The Multi-use Trail from Northwestern Avenue to the Cross County Trail parallels Northwestern and Stenton Avenues to provide connections with specific destinations and journeys. Surfaces will use traditional paving technology and, where feasible, porous paving. The Multi-use Trail incorporates a variety of experiences from share-the-road to off-road and will provide a scenic, cultural and pastoral journey. The Morns Arboretum has agreed to accomodate the Multi-use Trail on the Bloomfield Farm property. Agreements for use with other private landowners will be required to complete this pivotal link in Montgomery County's trail system. Time is essential as land use changes and development pressures continue to accelerate.

While outside the specific scope of the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link project, these proposals are included on the Trail System Map. Development of community spur trails will extend the reach of the Multi-use Trail and create a network of safe pathways for area residents, particularly children. Since these spur trails are of primary importance to the local community, it is recommended that Springfield and Whitemarsh Townships take the lead in development efforts. The journey and requirements for each segment of the trail system are described in greater detail in the next section. The Multi-use Trail will be designed to accommodate bicycles and meet the current guidelines for universal access for mUlti-purpose trails. It will not accommodate any motorized vehicles except those required for security and maintenance.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 13

VI. Journey Descriptions The Multi-use and Phase One Walking Trails

The Multi -use Trail System from Forbidden Drive in Fairmount Park to Fort Washington State Park



N umbers on this map are correlated to the text and photographs on pages 15 and 16.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 14

1. The Multi -use Trail begins at the intersection of Forbidden Drive and Northwestem Avenue.

2. Limited space requires the Multi-use Trail to be onroad along Northwestern Avenue. Striped bike lanes in tltis area will be required.

3. The Multi-use Trail 10;11 go off-road at Morris Arboretum's Bloomfield Farm to Stenton Avenue.

4. The intersection of Northwestern and Stenton Avenue can provide a hub for local spur trails.


6. Stenton Avenue at West Mill Rood has an elbow curve alld intersection tlUlI will be designed with n safe pedestrian and bike crossing. Commonwealth lands adjoin Stenton Avenue in this area.

The Multi-use Trail continues off-road parallel to Stenton Avenue. An easement for the trail on this private property is required. Easements are required along StenIon Avenue because tile existing public right-of-way is only 33 feet wide.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Lillk Master Plall 15

7. A new bridge for the Multi-use Trail will pamllel the historic stone arch bridge over the Wissahickcm on Stenton Avenue.

8. A snfe crossing will be designed at the intersection of Stenton Avenue and Flourtawn Road.

10. The Cross County Trail will follaw a mil and utility corridor to Fort Washington State Park.

11. Militia Hill overlooks the utility and rail corridor. This area of the State Park is an imp01tant trai111ead for the Multi-use, Walking and Cross County Trails.

9. An easement mllst be negotiated that will allow the Multi-use Trail to continue off-road to the proposed junction with the Cross County Trail.

Tlte Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 16

Journey Descriptions The Multi-use and f lourtown

Phase One Walking Trails

The Walking Trail . Phase 1 from Fort Washington State Park to Stenton Avenue I I I

Numbers on this map are correlated to the text and photographs on pages 18 and 19.

The Wissallickon Riparian Restoration n'ail Link Master Plan 17


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1. The Militia Hill Hawk-watch area has both parking and restroom facilities. The view over the valley is spectacular and is a prime viewing spot for birders.

2. Mawn paths lead downhill to the Wissahickon Creek.

negotiate the severely eroded banks under the Conrail

Riparian Park.


4. The Walking Trail will generally follaw the existing

5. Safe pedestrian crossing of West Valley Green Road is

Green Ribbon path, It will be realigned to protect the

lin important design criteria . Vehicle traffic from both directions have impeded views.

Creek banks and valuable Wildlife habitat.

3. An engineered pedestrian crossing is required to

This active Conrail train bridge marks the entrance to

6. The Walking Trail passes under til is abandoned railway trestle. There is an additional undelpass and steps that lead up to the old rail bed further away from the Creek.

The Wissahickol1 Riparial1 Restoration Trail Link Master Plml 18

7. A proposed State Park Trail using the abandoned bridge and rail bed would connect Riparian Park to Bethlehern Pike.

8. The trail/lead and parking facility on West Valley Green Road is currently shared with the Philadelphia Cricket Club GoifCourse. Shared parking facilities tire an excellent way to reduce impervious surfaces in the watershed.

9. The Lorraine Run, a tributary of the Wissnhickon, requires a dedicated pedestrian crossing.

10. The Wissahickon Creek has eroded the bank along West Valley Green Road. Realigning the cartway will

enable safe pedestrum travel along the Creek.

11. The Walking Trail (Phase 1) ends at the intersection with the Multi-use Trail near Stentol1 Avenue. Pedestrians can follow the Multi-use Trail north to Fort Washington or south to Fairmount Park and Forbidden Drive.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoratioll Trail Lillk Master Plall 19

VII, Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Program The forested areas along the Wissahickon Creek comprise the most important natural areas in the region. These are the primary conservation lands in the watershed where we will, or will not, sustain local biodiversity. These landscapes are home to local plants and animals as well as migratory species such as butterflies and songbirds. The forests along the Creek are vital biological corridors that allow for the movement of both plants and animals between other natural and semi-natural habitats. Riparian corridors are critical in a region that is otherwise highly fragmented by roads and structures.

The Riparian Restoration Program is comprised of two major initiatives, Watershed Management and Landscape Restoration. Both will focus on the portion of the watershed that impacts the stretch of the Wissahickon Creek in the project corridor. Proposed projects will demonstrate approaches to restoration applicable alongthe stream corridors throughout the area that can be replicated in schoolyards, back yards and sites such as corporate campuses. The trail system will provide necessary access to many sites for restoration activities and opportunities for interpretive and educational programming.

The future of the corridor is in jeopardy and without intentional restoration, the natural resources will diminish in both value and aesthetic character. Increased urbanization and development; introduction of non-native, invasive species; erosion, sedimentation and nutrient overloads contribute to the degradation of our once rich native communities. Wildlife diversity cannot be sustained in the face of growing landscape deterioration.

The community is the most important partner in this proposal. During the feasibility study, there have been numerous public meetings and many public and private agency partners. The Watershed Management and Landscape Restoration initiatives will continue to build on and expand these outreach efforts.

The goal of the Riparian Restoration Program is to preserve, manage and restore the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the Wissahickon watershed and to mitigate any impacts of the trail system.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 20

Watershed Management Wissahickon Creek Watershed


Mitigate the Impacts of Past Development

Project N






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The condition of the Wissahickon Creek today reflects the landscapes and land uses that occur throughout the watershed. Once entirely blanketed with forest, today only 12% of the watershed remains in woodland. The strips of State, County, and City parklands along the Creek provide the only viable remaining habitat for many plants and animals. These woodlands help buffer the Creek environment from the surrounding urbanized areas. Most of the remaining watershed is heavily developed with extensive paving and buildings over two-thirds of the landscape. These impermeable surfaces and lawn areas dramatically increase the amount and severity of storm water that runs into the Creek. This storm water scours and erodes the streambanks and increases flooding and flood damage along the Creek margins.

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The distinction between floodway and floodplain can be dramatic. The area subject to over spilling from any body of water is considered the floodplain. The floodway is the area within the floodplain that experiences flow or velocity. Water may overs pill the banks and puddle remaining relatively still or it may continue to flow. When water overs pills a streambank, but continues to move with some velocity, it is much more likely to carry debris and sediment and to cause damage. In the stretch of the Wissahickon Creek from Fort Washington State Park to Forbidden Drive almost all of the protected public land is in the floodway of the Wissahickon Creek. The problems of flooding , collapsing streambanks and degraded habitats cannot be adequately addressed at the edge of the stream, but require instead a change in our management of the landscapes throughout the watershed. A key question is whether or not our

The Wissahickan Riparian Restaratiall Trail Link Master Plan 21

communities can COlTect the mistakes of the past and avoid repeating them in the future. The condition of Riparian Park is, at any given moment, a reflection of how water is managed in our community. In order to mitigate the impacts of past development, The Riparian Restoration Program must seek to accomplish, to a meaningful degree, these goals: â&#x20AC;˘

Reduce stomlwater runoff and subsequent flooding


Increase groundwater recharge and stream baseflow Improve stream channel stability


Decrease pollutants entering the Creek

Improve Watershed Management

A fores ted fi rst order stream. Streams in forests are typically wider and shallower with more va ried hnbitat thnt those in tu rf

The Riparian Restoration Program will demonstrate approaches and techniques to improve water management that can be applied throughout the upper Wissahickon watershed. For example, the remaining open land that comprises over one-fifth of the watershed is likely to be developed in the near future. The type of development and the character of the landscape will have a pivotal impact on the Creek. If designed with watershed management in mind, new development can demonstrate more sustainable management of water related resources. The smallest streams, called first order streams, are particularly important to managing runoff. Some have been put into pipes and paved over. Where redevelopment occurs, the opportunity to "daylight" streams, restoring an open channel, will be available. The few small streams that are still intact are predominantly on plivate and institutional land. These represent opportunities to protect critical resources and, ideally, to demonstrate the benefits of reforestation.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 22

:;uslainable Watershed /;(anagement ~

Three key strategies for improving watershed management are:


f_Sl 0l0fl WUU SHfOS





Protect critical first order streams

Create and extend forested buffers wherever possible

Reduce the extent of impermeable surfaces including traditional short grass lawns


Maintaining and restoring continuously forested stream con~dors thoughout the watershed will have the additional benefit of restoring habitat s for plants and wildlife. Wide and continuously fore sted riparian corridors have many benefits for plants, animals and people including:





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Reduced flo oding, reduced volume and velocity of floodwaters

Reduced streambank erosion and sediment carried into the stream

Reduced levels of pollutants and improved water quality

Cooler water temperatures which improves fish habitat


First order streams (area in pink) are of special imporlance in controlling stormwater, bemuse they comprise as much as 50% of a watershed's drainage system.

Conservation of biodiversity •

Improved air quality and reduced wind velocities

In general, reducing the areas of impermeable surfaces such as asphalt and areas of high runoff such as traditional lawns will contribute greatly to restoring more historic drainage panerns and are important opportunities for water management in urbanized watersheds.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 23

.. •


Customize the trail design to reflect hydrologic conditions The drainage patterns of the watershed strongly influenced the siting and design of the trail system. Two key objectives are:



Minimize trail(s) sited in the floodway

Maintain the functions ofthe floodplain

The design of the trail must be customized to address the velocity and volume of potential flood conditions. To the greatest extent possible, the Multi-use Trail and all trail facilities and amenities will be sited completely outside of the floodway. Structures such as fences, boardwalks and signs built within the floodway will be designed to withstand flooding, but will still require periodic maintenance and repair due to flood impacts.




Detail of the floodp lain map of the Wissahickon Creek where it crosses Stenion Avenue

The Wissahickml RilJariall RestnratiOll Tmil Lillk Master PIal! 24

Landscape Restoration Riparian corridor reforestation and restoration is a high priority of many area agencies. The Resource Management Plan for Fort Washington State Park recognizes the need to restabilize the riverbanks, to reforest the corridor and manage exotics to sustain native communities. The Fairmount Park Commission has initiated a large scale training, management, and education program centered on riparian restoration. Volunteers in Fair'mount Park have been actively removing exotics, replanting native species, controlling runoff and repairing trails. The Montgomery County Planning Commission has developed a program for riparian corridor restoration and management as well as model ordinances to ensure sound riparian corridor management. Their recommendations include:

Volunteers instaIling streambank stabilization on the Paper Mill Run


"Forested riparian corridors should be maintained, and reforestation should be encouraged where no wooded buffer exists ...


The riparian corridor should be uninterrupted ...


Riparian corridors should extend at least 75 feet from the edge of the stream to perform properly."

Wider corridors are recommended where sediment and erosion are serious, where nutrient removal is important, and to improve wildlife habitat. These issues effect all of the main stem of the Wissahickon. As a guideline, all areas within the IOO-year flood line should be included in the forested riparian corridor. Beyond that a woodland buffer zone bordered by meadow is recommended to retard runoff, reduce pollutant loads, and reduce erosion and sedimentation.

The Wissal7ickon Riparian Restoration Trail Lillk Master Plall 25

Reforestation faces several severe obstacles: Consumption of new plantings by deer, which have already eliminated most forest reproduction in the existing riparian corridor

Deer have increased to the point where they contribute to the possible extinction of 26 other species in the State.


Competition from weedy invasive species such as knotweed


Limited horticultural use and commercial availability of important native riparian species


Lack of community awareness and expertise about landscape restoration

Introdu ced non-native plants have replaced many once common native species . Knotweed, above, has slowly colonized the entire length of the Wissahickon at the expense of loml biodiversity.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 26

Demonstrate landscape management techniques to reduce damage to riparian habitats The simplest way to reduce the volume and speed of runoff in the watershed is to change common landscape management practices. Every property owner has an opportunity to help improve watershed management in the Wissahickon Valley by increasing the area of forest and reducing the extent of turf. The greatest obstacles are a simple lack of expertise in ecological landscape management in the community and the persistence of habit. The Riparian Restoration Program will seek to address these issues in the following ways: Traditional asphalt The parking lot at the Morris Arboretum is also an educationnl exhibit that demonst rates a variety of techniques to supp01i creek basej10w an d improve w ater quality. These can be applied throughout the watershed.

Porous paving Q~


Promote good watershed management through training and education


Establish programs to increase forest and other native vegetation, especially in first order watersheds

The Parking Lot

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Demonstrate alternatives to lawn and other impermeable surfaces on public and private land



The Wissahickoll Ripa rian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 27


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Contribute to the science of restoration


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The science of riparian restoration is in its infancy. Monitoring is essential to ensure both cost-effective and sustainable results . Recorrunended strategies and techniques are developing and shifting rapidly as the results of field trials become available. The participating agencies, institutions, schools, organizations and volunteers will be involved in an integrated program to document the effects of management and maintain an on·going biological inventory of the site. Workshops and demonstration areas will train corrununity participants and program leaders in restoration techniques. The benchmarks of successful restoration include natural regeneration and recruitment of native forest vegetation, stratification in the forest structure, water quality improvement, bank and chatlllel stability, maintenance and/or reintroduction of key species, increased areas of forest and wetlands and the breadth of volunteer participation. In order to contribute to the growing science of restoration, programming should: Coordinate with other Wissahickon restoration partners to collect and maintain biological database •

Establish goals and criteria for evaluating restoration efforts

Set up, monitor and assess field trials

Document landscape management and use in trail corridor

TaIl g rass and wildflower meadaws are an attractive and low cost altemative to lawn.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Mastel' Plan 28

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A team of scien tists is currently updating the Flora of Pennsylva nia, a survey of

both native and nonnative plants in the state.

Spring beauty is one of the many once abundant native species now disappearing that will be targeted for restoration.

It is important to keep records 011 both use and nUlnagement in order to evaluate success. This is a ground cover mnp of Central Park in New York City.

The Wissahickoll Ripariall Restoratiol1 Trail Link Master Plal1 29

Promote community participation from design to implementation Because the watershed is already overdeveloped, there are too few natural areas remaining to either sustain biodiversity or improve watershed management. The habitat requirements of native plants, the need for improved water quality, a reduction in erosion and flooding must increasingly be met on private and non-park public lands. The restoration program relies heavily on community education and participation to find and implement solutions to complex problems of land use and landscape management. Community programming will:

The ultimate success of the restoration depends on how many people and groups participate

in the effort, especially in the school system.

Continue the participatory planning process

Engage additional organizations as project partners

Establish coordinated programming in local schools

Involve local community and trail users in trail maintenance and landscape restoration

Trail users support restoration efforts along trail corridors.

Partners discuss riparian ruanagement and criteria in the field.

The Wissal1ickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 30

Volunteers playa vital role in controlling exotic invasive vegetation.

Protect and restore indigenous communities The Riparian Restoration Program will actively seek to protect and restore indigenous communities that have been impacted by the degradation of the larger environment due to past land use and ongoing stresses such as increased flooding, exotic invasives and over-browsing by deer. The following tasks will be priorities:

Conservative species, adapted to specialized habitats and in tact systems, will be a focus of restoration efforts.

Identify and map critical species and habitats

Establish "reserve" areas and exclosures

Foster the regeneration of native plant communities

Establish an invasive plant and animal management program

Coordinate community deer management program

Foster beneficial aquatic and soil organisms

Locally grown native species now absent or sca rce can be propagated and added to both public and private res toration sites.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 31

Deer exclosures will be necessary to protect new plantings until deer populations are stabilized at lower levels. Regrowth of the understory is seen on the left of this photo within an exclosure.

Dead wood is a vital component in the restoration of soil and historic groundlayer species.

Riparian habitat degraded by lawn can be re-vegetated using bio-technical methods that help stabilize the streambank at the Stlme time.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 32

Phase One, Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Program Phase One of the Riparian Restoration Program is intended to establish a strong foundation for all future work that includes adequate monitoring and review. At the same time, Phase One should involve the community in several demonstration projects that show tangible results. Three components are integral to the objectives of Phase One: â&#x20AC;˘ Restoration Advisory Team â&#x20AC;˘ Wissahickon Database â&#x20AC;˘ Demonstration Projects

The Restoration Advisory Team The goals of the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Program are, of necessity, very broad. A key objective of Phase One is intended to focus this effort by developing a strategic approach tailored to this landscape that is coordinated with a wide array of participating partners. The Restoration Advisory Team is intended to assemble a team of key experts to craft a strategic action plan for the Restoration Program. Two primary tasks of this group will be to set up the Wissahickon Database in coordination with others collecting data and to oversee the development of the demonstration projects. The Team will involve the community as well as other area scientists and agencies, such as the Fairmount Park Advisory Group, the Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers and the Wissahickon Partnership.

Additional priority tasks include developing a program to address the problems of overbrowsing by deer and establishing standard protocols for projects to ensure adequate oversight and consistent monitoring. The Team will also be responsible for setting benchmarks for success such as the number of acres of land recommended for reforestation, targets for reducing the extent of lawn and community participation.

The Wissahickon Database Habitat restoration and management depend on good information about the site including present and past conditions and what changes are occurring over time. The database should include natural and cultural data, historic archival information as well as an extensive photographic record. There is a large amount of existing information as well as many groups and agencies gathering still more. What is needed is a coordinated approach and optimal accessibility. The Restoration Program will consolidate and coordinate the effort to create a comprehensive database that is accessible to as wide a public as possible.

Demonstration Projects It is desirable to begin demonstration projects as soon as possible in order to engage the community in restoration activities and initiate the monitoring of field trials. Ideally, a variety of different groups can and should participate. Demonstration projects are also ideal for incorporation into school curricula to compliment their contribution to the database. Suitable initial projects include deer exclosures to evaluate impacts of browse, exotics removals, replanting techniques, and consequences of changing management.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 33

VIII. Where Do We Go Fr01n Here? Endorsements Endorsement of the plan by applicable governmental and private bodies should be obtained by the end of the first quarter of 1999 so that funding sources can be tapped during 1999 in preparation for a 2000 year construction start. The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link Plan needs to be reviewed and approved by Montgomery County Planning Commission, the County Park Board, and the Board of County Commissioners if it is to successfully proceed to development using technical and financial assistance from Montgomery County. The complete plan should first be presented to the Planning Commission Board for its consideration. Upon favorable review of the plan, the Board should pass a resolution of endorsement recommendiug that it be approved by the County Commissioners. Likewise, the plan should also be presented to the County Park Board for endorsement and a recommendation of County Commissioner approval. After the plan has gone through the Planning Commission and the Park Board, it should be presented to the Board of County Commissioners for its support. County Commissioners' approval of the fundamental concepts of the document will be key to trail and riparian restoratiou implementatiou. On-going dialogue and additional approvals from the Commissioners will be necessary as the recommendations are carried out, particular1y when funding and acquisition of rights-of-way are needed.

standing of the benefits and purposes of the project will be helpful in obtaining broader based public support from the community. Philadelphia's Fairmount Park Commission should endorse the plan because it too will be affected by and benefit from the project. For example, the plan proposes implementing the historical goal of extending the "park" to liuk to the Fort Washiugton State Park. Provisions of the trail link will have implications on the use of Forbidden Drive, and restoration of the riparian corridor of the Wissahickon Creek will influence water quality and storrnwater. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of State Parks, should endorse the plan because Fort Washington State Park is a partner in the project. The State Park is not only the destination point for the Wissahickon Trail Link, but also a key partner in the future maintenance plan. Fort Washington State Park will also be a key trailhead, serving in this capacity for both the Wissahickon Trail and Montgomery County's Cross County Trail. The Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association should endorse the plan, given the fact that the Association's long-standing interest in establishing a "Green Ribbon Preserve" and trail corridor along the Wissahickon Creek is advanced by the project. The WVWA is expected to be a leading partner in the plan's implementation.

The muncipalities affected by the recommendations of the plan, Springfield and Whitemarsh Townships, should be approached for support of the trail and restoratiou concepts. Their under-

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 34

Funding Strategy

Advisory Groups

This plan itself has been funded through a grant from the William Penn Foundation. Future funding for carrying out its recommendations will most likely be from a combination of public and private sources.

To ensure that all parties who have a vested interest in the trail and restoration project (particularly the study group partners who prepared this plan) will be adequately represented in making decisions affecting implementation of this plan, the Trail Advisory Council and the Restoration Advisory Team should be formed soon after the plan is endorsed and approved by the key agencies and organizations. These technical advisory groups will oversee the initial development and continued operation and maintenance of the respective project components. The members of the groups will serve as liaisons for their representative parties and the community at-large, and each member should be appointed by the respective decision-making body serving as part of the group.

Because of the large amount of money needed to implement a project the scope of the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) should be explored as a possible funding source. TEA21 is the Federal transportation bill which succeeded the popular and effective Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). TEA-21 provides money that would cover eighty percent of design, acquisition, and development costs of the trailrelated elements of the project. The remaining twenty percent of eligible project costs would need to be secured from other public sources, such as State grants, or from private sources, such as corporate and individual contributions and foundation grants. The trail and restoration project has garnered significant local support which could be turned into a funding source, providing "in-kind" services and a catalyst for public fundraising efforts such as fairs, bike events, and the like. The value of in-kind services often count toward local match requirements imposed by grant programs. Fundraising events could generate money either to provide the local match or to fund other aspects of the project that would be ineligible for grant funding. Restoration grants from various sources, including The William Penn Foundation, should be pursued for that part of the project that is not trail related.

The expertise of the advisory groups should be supplemented by outside consultants on an as-needed basis. Specialized skills and knowledge from persons or firms may from time to time be needed to resolve issues and problems or to tackle tasks that are beyond the abilities of the groups to undertake. Objective views of persons not intimately tied to the project may also be helpful to plan implementation. The Trail Advisory Council and the Restoration Advisory Team both should be able to seek outside advice and supplement their membership with ad hoc members for these purposes.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 35

Trail Management Program The Wissahickon Trail is envisioned to be a part of the Montgomery County Trail System and, as such, would be under the jurisdiction of the County Department of Parks. But before authorization to proceed with trail development would be given by the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, a management plan would need to be prepared. The management plan would define and assign roles and responsibilities of various partners in the trail project. It would also need to outline costs associated with the management of the trail and how the costs would be shared. The plan will need to be prepared and accepted by the Trail Advisory Council and more specifically approved by the various parties who will have defined responsibilities.

An earlier part of this plan already addressed construction issues and how these design elements should take into consideration the liability for future maintenance. It is recommended that the plan for design consider these issues. With regard to safety, security and concerns for limiting exposure to liability, it is recommended that risk management be an important element in the management plan. Safety and security of both the user and adjacent landowners should be primary concerns for both design and management. Ongoing maintenance of the trail after it is developed should be done in accordance with an approved maintenance plan so that appropriate standards of care are achieved.

Once the trail link is built and becomes another unit of the Montgomery County Park System, insurance coverage will extend from the County policy to cover the new trail and any associated public use areas. As such, the trail will need to adhere to the standards of Montgomery County's Department of Parks. If Montgomery County is to be the holder of proposed easements or other types of rights-of-way for the trail, it will need to be consulted during any negotiation with the landowners. The design and construction of the trail should first follow accepted design guidelines. If trail development is funded in part by Federal monies from TEA-21, additional standards will have to be met. For example, Federal and state construction requirements would govern trail engineering as well as the construction phase of the trail. It is important that all applicable regulations be followed so that the trail is safe according to contemporary engineering and construction practices.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 36

IX. Cost and Budgets Wissahickon Multi-use Trail •

Length: 2.5 miles, of which 2 miles is off-road

Design: 12'-0" wide, asphalt & porous asphalt. Continuous concrete post & wood rail adjacent to private lands. Continuous allee & hedgerow plantings along road & adjacent to private lands

One bridge over Wissahickon Creek parallel to Stenton Avenue bridge near W. Mill Road

Two on-road crossings without traffic signals; three on-road crossings at signalized intersections Estimated Construction Cost: $1.4 million, not including land acquisition

Wissahickon Walking Trail Phase One Length: 2.12 miles

Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Program Long term budgets for restoration programming will depend on the conclusions and recommendations prepared by the Restoration Advisory Team. Accordingly, budgets for restoration programming are limited in this report to the establishment of the Restoration Advisory Team and their development of longer range restoration strategies. A coordinating partner such as the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, will require dedicated funding to support staff, contract for technical advisory services and provide support materials to the Restoration Advisory Team. As recommended in this report, the Restoration Advisory Team should seek funding over an 18 month period to develop restoration strategies, baseline studies, coordinate the development of a data base and design and install a limited number of demonstration projects. The budget estimates below are based on an 18 month timeline.

Design: 8'-0" wide, unpaved, gravel/cinder. Wood rail adjacent to sensitive areas. Stabilized paths and streambanks at Creek overlooks

Bridge over Lorraine Run; boardwalks over wet areas; bridge over Creek at stone-arch railroad bridge near Fort Washington State Park

Two on-road crossings without traffic signals: at Valley Green Road Bridge & along Valley Green Road near Cricket Road

Interpretation including on-site signage, brochures, printing and communication materials

Collection of baseline site data and monitoring period following demonstration installations; coordination and management of the Wissahickon Database

Education Iinc1uding teacher training contracts

Staff support for coordinating agency; work station, office supplies and materials; consulting and technical advisory fees Installation of3-5 on-site demonstrations; tools, supplies and equipment

Estimated Construction Cost: $425,000, not including riparian restoration

Estimated Restoration Cost: $200,000

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 37

Appendix A Funding Resources The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration and Trail Link Master Plan outlines two primary program elements, a trail link system and riparian restoration. Accordingly, funding for these two elements will likely come from different grant programs. One key source of federal dollars for the Multi-use Trail will be TEA21. This program is highly competitive and requires significant local and County support to compete with many worthy projects that provide alternative modes of transit. Keystone Grants, Key 93 is a Pennsylvania grant program for multimodal trails. As with TEA-21, Montgomery County will be the grant applicant. Since the County is likely to be seeking funding for a number of trail projects, it will be necessary for them to prioritize their applications. The SIMS program consists of federal dollars administered through PA DCNR for trail enhancement projects. This program would be an appropriate funding source for the Walking Trail (Phase 1). The grant applicant would be Fort Washington State Park with possible application of these dollars as a match with TEA-21. However, it is unclear at this time whether the Walking Trail is eligible for TEA-21 funding. The Keystone Grant Programs includes a program for the purchase of abandoned railroad right-of-way for public recreational trail use. Springfield and Whitemarsh Townships in partnership with Fort Washington State Park, could apply to this program to complete the link of the proposed State Park Trail to Bethlehem Pike. Also part of the Keystone Grant Program is the Rivers Conservation Grant Program. Currently, the Delta Group is developing a Rivers Conservation plan for the Wissahickon Watershed. When completed,

there will be funding available for restoration projects that are in line with the recommendations of that study. As with all Keystone Grant Programs, PA DCNR is the program administrator. Federal funding for beneficial landscapes, riparian restoration and wetland enhancement projects may be available through the EPA. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has sponsored numerous grant programs in the past. Typically, these are special programs with very specific objectives. The Trail Advisory Council and Restoration Advisory Team should monitor for potential EPA grant programs that support education, interpretation and restoration activities. At the state level, PA Department of Environmental Protection has offered numerous grant programs that support improved watershed management, mitigation of non-point source pollution, protection and enhancement of wetlands and riparian restoration. The Pennsylvania Re-Leaf program is an ongoing effort at the state level to protect and enhance riparian buffers. WRAP, the Watershed Restoration and Assistance Program, provides grants to develop and implement watershed restoration plans and projects. Again, it will require ongoing monitoring by the Advisory Councils to stay current with potential funding sources available through DEP. There are a number of both local, regional and national private funding sources that support both trail projects and beneficial environmental programs. The William Penn Foundation, for example, is actively involved in a number of initiatives that address riparian and watershed improvements. It will be incumbent on the Trail and Restoration Advisory teams to investigate and pursue private agency funding and to work in partnership with local and regional associations to effectively leverage and match all federal, state and private dollars.

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 38

19 Au~\lS( "HS :o..-ir. John W<,)"C$ Chief()p~n Sp~te


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3-1ontgomery Cunnty LamJs Trust Extract of Minute.-; of the Board of Directon' )'feeling Blue Bell, Pennsylvania ....lay 28, 1998

?>1>_ Joy lawrence Communit)" Progrmll :\ocsi;;wnt ?>'lo:-ris Arboretum oltb.c Cni,'..:,-,i!:, of Penn,yh~mJ 9..J 1..J \-kad0\\-brook A\'C~~.:


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Resolved: That ,he Board of Directors' of Mont gomer)' County Lands Trust, lnc., hereby endorse and support the work done by the Morris ArboremIT! of the Univo:rsity of Pennsylvania on !he Concepmru Plan forme Wissahkkon Trail Link Syst<::m.

D..:ar Mr.

ple~s~d to pro\'id.c rhi, \_1t~f "r support tor ,he Wis~<illickoll RipJriJn Re_,lOr"liol! ~nd Traii Link (WRit I'Ll projc~l 111<: g,--,ai cflb" imp:manl proj",--::t i$ to) ~('llnec, fuimlO<.:..'1t P~rk and h,:'1 \\'nsc,ingtiln Sl$.l~ PJr);;' n~l"rd "-Hd rcwc~lio)n~l r~.<()urc~,,;. rili, goa! is ,Hpportcd by ,"V~ "birtH"'''::;. includtng [ink'ng. Fo~biddcn Dri,-~ in the Wi:;:;abkkon Vnlle)' \\,;!!, \{('ntg<'mery COUll\y's CW;;s-C()unly Tr~li. ITslOring ;md p",!e~l",!! rip"r;~n hJbiwlS uhf!!g. ,he Wi,;s;-JIld,o" Cr~ek, impTO"ir:g (he WJln 4~~lily ,,[,h(' W':;sah;~k"r. "-.'10 :mprm,ing \\'~(~rsbed ll)aMg-"rn~r.t lhm~gh pubE<:: caucation.



this 2&" day of~1ay,





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:'I-lontgomery County Land Trust, Inc.

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The g03J ~nd Gbjecti"c~ "flhi.< proJCCt alig~l well \\;;,h lh~ mi;SlOil ofl!le F~irmo"m Park Commi:;s;on: includmg pw"iding adi"" "'~r~atiO!l oppO,,";.!ni;!.:-;, pmkc,illg sen~itivc

habitats ~l,d educating th~ pll~lic ab0'Jl "ritkal ",,,vir'-'Ilmcm~l issue5 \\-i~h;ro urbnnized op~n ~r~~~ sySl~m. IlCJ1ls such ~s rip:L-1~) reSlLlrmion. \vnt.:rshd and ;mbEc ~d1Ccnt;"r. an: ?arli~u.iarly CC>1~sis;em with tile Park's 11CW :\muml Lanc, Rc;;lOmti"" ~nd En~ironm~mnl EducallOn l'rogr.lm ('(LREEP) ~n


J(JJ;~' ~ ~J2~ <-<.-u'

and :-'b. Lawrence,

On b~halr' ollile fairnlOCnl brk C,)rnmis.>ion. i :,rn

Further Resolved: That me Wissahickon Trail Link System is a priority objective of Montgomery County Lmlds T nlSt in accorda,."lce ,villi the Montgornc::ry County 0p;:n Spa~~



Yo" ,,'~ to be c01,mwl1dd lOr the <'Xk11oi,~ pbnnin.'-'- proCV% ~md",ct~J...~:l a:; p;m of ,his project nit i:!rg<: 'pbnning ,mm~'" ~roap. l"dudi"l! r~p""<"H"linn h: bt..--,,,o~,,t Park', Opewti"'" ~nd LaIll!$.Cap~ :o..'!mmg~m~m (OLM) ar.d ~LREF.P $lnfts, ~nd the nun:c:we, pliblic ~eeling, provided many opport\!nil:~, \() Sl>li~it public ""d profession'll i:1pUl We al lh~ f'~;r::!loe"t Park Ccnuni,~i<)n hJ\:~ bcc:~ pleased h) pwicip,n<.: in Lhe planning 0rlhis penciied ~nd ~xc;ling il'i;i,nive ~",.i l""k f,~rward:o contim] ng 10 work togetha a~ W,: !"r')Ject l'r:<)V<'-S w"'md~ ;ml'kn~cnt~ti<)n.


(corp;r<lJe se,,])

A~~~ Execuli\'~



"""" -"'"'-""""''''''''' --~"'''' __




Box 300. Lederach, Pennsylvania 19450 215-51M1WIJ- fax 2J5-SI:W150' e.mal\

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 39


Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association


12 Morris Road, Ambler, PA 19002-5499

PhON'iO(215)""'_ rAXj21SIe.5<·7_

DAI'lO S F"O<J-UC:~ eXec"T"""O""C-CR

United States Department of t.he Interior

T"b,·h,nn2. PA 184b6·(JO,o) %):6,1<1\'8

August L7, 1998

Joy Lal'..-rence ;"1orris Arborelum 9414 Meadowbwok Avenue Phil~delphia, PA J 9! 18

Ms. Joy i.a"-Tellce Morris Arboretum


o ~"c;c,' ~'£o.·c~"""

9414 Meadowbrook Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19J 18



Dear Ms. Ln'.'rencc:

Wissahickon Riparian Re&oraticm and Trail Unk Project

H K'fl>( HO>,STMM< p":"'~<'T


E;D.·.'[~ ~


Dear Joy:

This r~f~rs to our July 10, 1998 site visi, to of!"~r tedum;,',] :tdvi.<'~ on the Wis,,:{hld:Dn TwH Sy~tcm. Phibdc!phia Township, Philadelphia Coun(y. Pennsyll'ani:!. Y(JU rcqucs:cd the l'.S Fi~h ~nd \Vildlife Service (Servicej insp~(;t the ;,Dll\"C menliDl\ed proje<:[ o.nd provide (;onm,cms un ,your propo;;al to construct the Wissahickon Trail Lb..!;. SY$tell1.

CEOR8" (; <.:enSO" . .ri< SLcnDA~"

';;~~'~F~"""-' "C'kJ nlC".n~'J



David Froehlich presented the concept for the WRRTL Project as it is currently proposed at OUT Board of Directors meeting 00 July 16, 1998. He discussed the color graphic in detail The pIan was well rcccivcd.

Acc(lrdingly, ~'1r. Anthony Tur and !vb. :"Iaria Tur Q[ the E:::."lem Pennsyll·l!..'lia Ficld Offic<~ mel with you at the site. The Sef'.'ic~ r~ds Iha\ lb~ pmr.{).,,--d plan, d::.tcd Junc 25.1998, provid"" \h~ best plan fo: reducing negative iWP;'Cb \(J wildlife. In addition, ~his p,;;n l\;iIl sigmiiumtly r.::dll~~ the aced for st<!tC "nd feDcral we\i~nd pennie"

We appreciate that you and the OthL'l: collllDhtec members were able to address many of our concerns. In particular, keeping the bicycle path along Stenton Avenue should minimize impacts to the narural floodplain area. We feel that this solution baIances both recreational and ecological objectives.

The Service \"ould like (u poinl <Jul Ill;.!\ unavoitkblc impt'.cts tG wmep,; ollhe United 51",,,,,,, includiag wetlands. will Iequi.r~ (;Omj,")-~;'\s;;"<00' miligadon ..-\'; such. wctland illlP;K"iS ,h<.ll\!d oc avoided. We ;ecorrnncnd thallil~ 1,;.5. Army Corps of Enginecrs, Phijadciphi;~ Oi,ln(;l, h" ,,",k~d 10 review the propo~cd !r<li/ n)\llC ;;,.nd outline theoSc an~::l5 whieh have xer. propused for imp::ci~


PA1RO::;'A.' O""·~UJ aLE" L J:s.s~CN ~HO~Br





""'Y.l ,,1"",S"-"~ CAll'Y-" JONSS

Sl!Z.\N~~ l. ",",VAW"", BEnYO ::<';:l~,"M< • "')A" "C<lH'TS HAR'JH' SA\WH' $AF,,,lN'




OCOO;V.H" Sw.O'>

Jl;"E :J "PARA""'O J C,to.RES STACKS, ,m GECflCL a. SiAN;;F.'OO" "lIC[ D S,AN, rv



We look forward to working .....ith you as the project progr<:SSes. Please let us know how we can continue to support your efforts.





,*""y co





H Iilik Horstman, PE ClWmun


Land Use Planning CollllDhtcc

OIl. Au,-" PATR'CK


~;~L~';:';' S;1'~'i,0,"",


John Wood, MCPC David Froehlich.. WVWA

Tnc Sef'.'ice ~ecommend> th~t L1C :lppmpriatc state agcncie<; (Dep<l'1mei"lt 01 C<Jn>e[\ .!Imn "nd \'am:-al Resource,. PA Fish ,wd Bo:n COI,unis~io\l and PA G:!mc COl1'..rrj,~jol1) be cor.~ul,d with regard to the effee[~ Nl ;p~cie> li·;t~d in ,he Pennsyll';\I1;a "'all:':!! Divcr~i!y lll\'emory I,q Ken Ander;<ol1. PA Dcp:o.,-,:me:lt of El1\'i,m:mema! Prolc~lk>n, Cun~hoiloden ..<hou~d Ix: eOl1su\:cd :0 ensur" that appropriate erosion and sedlfnent m<.:a~ur~s are llnplem~nicd, ~nd that the projec( 11"111 eonfoml with Chaptcr 105 of the P~llnsyh':m;", Cod~. Tlx S~rvice

$UPpO:1~ the conceptual plan fur th~ \Vis~ahickon Trail Link Systcm !md iGob forward (0 workillC!. with VOl! i~ Ih~ lulure, Pk~$e COnl;JCl \-k A:nf.Ol1\· Tur of lhe E;'~I",m Pennsylvunia Field Of:fie~ '" (717) S94· iJ:7S tor ~dditlona] Sl!pport rcquircmcn;s Sin~crcly.

~~ Jar~d Br;md,,'~in


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The Wissahiclwn Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 40



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The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 41

24 HOURS (2! 5) 256-9595

OFFICE (215) 2S6-95C

Police Department Lower Salford Township

One pre-cOi1Struction conce:n expressed by a few citizens was "lhe pathway will cre<o.te a convenient "rear access' to properties adjoining th~ paths a..'"ld this will illcrease property crimes or easy, hidden access to homes for thefts and burglaries" (i.e. "increased crime"). This aspect has neve, materialized. I know of 119. documemed incidents where the prh system was an element in a !I'.ajor crime incident


~~ 474 .'.IA!;'; STREET. HARLEYSV1U_E.?A 19438-13';1 fER."" .'\. SCHOL


0",/ of Pcl,,-.

(2:5) 2564369

Likev,ise, the pathways r,mning adjacent to many private properties has not developed into a problem. If anythlng, it has e!labled many of our citizens to meet new friends by providing an opponunity to greet path users, if they so choose. 1, personally, live v.-ithin 30 feet of one of our paths, and my viife and I have found thc path to be a delight for this reason, as wei! as being convenient for our ovm use!

August 19, 1998


John H. Wood, Director Open Space Platting :\fontgomery County Planning Commission P.O. Box3il Nom5tow71, P A 19404-03 11

There has been, in all nonesly, an occasiunal repOr! of a "youth r<:lated" problem on the path syStem. These reports are infrequent, afld most have not been of a serious nature. Many reports appear to stem from the fac! that there is merely a group of tee:--,age., "hanging out" at a particular locatio'" and ,he simple fact that they are "there" frigh;;ens some people, not a factual situation of they're actually "doing" something. ;',.nd, I don't want to overemphasize a "hanging out" aspect_ Quite frankly, our paths are so busy, particularly ;1'. g{){)d weather, there's Ettle OppOrIUl'jty for pe;sons to be "hidden from view" so as to get into too much illegal or ami-sodal behavior; there's always someone pas,ing by.

Dear Sir,

Our Tovmspjp \1a\'lage" Stever: M_ Wiesner, asked me if I could take a few minutes and write N you wi,h a summa,)' of my experience, from a law enforcr;ment perspective, our "COlT'-'.l!lunity Path System" (i.e. "bike path")


Our police department recentil' initiated 2. "bicyc!c patrol" unit, comprised of three cf OUf young officers. During the summer of'98 we'w had some opporwrity to activeiy patrol the paths using ;;hese officers on their bikes. Trjs n&; been an ",,,,remeiy popuiar addition co our communityl And, of course, i. has even further di~in':shcd a11)' negative aspects of the community path system.

Herewith a few observations and con;ments on :he subject. The Lowe~ Salford "bike patn" came into existence nearly ten years ago. It i~ still ccveIoping and expanding, ~wd is used quite heavily throughout when weaTher cor.ditio[ls are appropriate_ It's use continues year round, though obviously it is mOst popular during the warmer months of the year I:'s use encompasses walkers/joggers, oicycEsls, roilerskaters 2.!10 rollerbladers, skateboarders, infant coaches and strollers and some child "toy" vet-jdes_ Qui,e a mixed use, on a frtquent basis. And. the surprising thing is, for the most part,.1lJl ofthtse ekments get along quite wei!. There is only a rare occurrence of corulict! Tile path system crosses major roadways at severallocattons. The ~wo most major are at points where traffic signals control vehicular/pedestrian traffic Thus far, I don't be!ie~-e we've had any serious accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians which wouid be associated with the bike pathways.

Probably the most frequent wmplaint I've heard i"vol>'es "dogs" Dogs are !\ill prohibited from using [he paths, bm township o:d;n;;.nc<, provisions :eq:.!ir<, tilal (<lJ they be on ;eashes with a maximum length o:six ft:od; and, (b) that the "droppings" must be cieaned up by their owners_ F,om personal observat,ons these complaints ilE legitimate arlO founded in fact. Too often dog owners pennit their pd to accompany them "offiead". Actual incidents involving dog "attacks" and/or "bites" have becn rare to alrr:ost non-exiSTent. However, though the dog may be weli trained, and non-aggressive, many people are wa..--;.', or oUlright afraid, of "at l.1!"ge", strange dogs. LLl;:cwise, it is.all tOo frequent that pet owners pem>jt their arjma! to defecate along (or occasionally "or.") the pam without c!ea,:ing up after them. This creates a problems fDr po:rsons I;sing the path and it's adjacent mowed berms and also for the township maintena..""lce staff pe()ple wi:.o do the mowing with rotary mowers aiong the sides of the paved paths. This problem is another we ar~ hoping our "bike patro!s" can aileviale some,vila! as time goes by. 1n summary, my professional opinion is that the cornmunity path/b~ke path system has

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 42

b<:en an extremely positive addition to the Lower SaJford com.-nurlll)'_ It provides a good, S2fe area for moderate exercise, a,1 oppon:U!1lty to meet new friencis anci an easily accessible piace for physicaliy handicapped person.s to gee out into the fresh air. Fro!"!: a Jaw e;;forcemem experience in this community, it has not Oe<!n 3. probJem~ If 1 ca."! be of fc:r:o:hcr 3.'l$istance, please don't hesitate in con",c!mg mc. Sincerely yours,

Tdry R. Scholl Chiej ojPolice

The Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan 43


Project Design Morris Arboretum of tbe University of Pennsylvania Project Director: Brooks Mullahy, Associate Director, Center for Urban Forestry Project Coordinator: Joy Lawrence, Community Programs Assistant

Graphic design and layout by Greg Condon, Andropogon Associates, Ltd.

Andropogon Associates Rolf Sauer, Principal Leslie Jones Sauer, Principal

Text and captions by Leslie Jones Sauer, Andropogon Associates, Ltd; John Wood, Montgomery County Planning Commission; Joy Lawrence, Morris Arboretum.

Cahill and Associates Thomas Cahill, PE

Funding for the creation and publication of the Master Plan provided by The William Penn Foundation.

Campbell Thomas & Co. Robert Thomas

Special thanks to the Conservation Fund.

Many thanks to the project partners and community members who contributed to the planning and design of the Master Plan recommendations.

All photographs, except where noted, by Andropogon Associates and the Morris Arboretum,

Copies of the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link Master Plan are on file with the Montgomery County Planning Commission and the Morris Arboretum. For additional copies contact the Morris Arboretum. A multi-media presentation on the Wissahickon Riparian Restoration Trail Link can be arranged by contacting the Morris Arboretum, Center for Urban Forestry, 9414 Meadowbrook Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19118. Visit the project website located at:

Wissahickon riparian restoration trail link mp  
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