A Growing Greener II grant allowed Lower Merion Township to continue development of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail in Montgomery County. Eventually the trail will link to the increasingly popular Schuylkill River Trail and allow direct access to Valley Forge Park, the Perkiomen Trail, and downtown Philadelphia.
The grant was awarded by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and allocated money for general trailhead improvements. The linear park extends nearly three miles from the Cynwyd R6 train station to the Schuylkill River and provides access to 350 acres of public open space. Groundbreaking on Phase 1 began in late 2010, and spanned across public, private, and institutional lands. When completed, the project will provide recreational, economic, community-building, and educational opportunities to both local and regional residents.
The design includes a main 12-foot wide asphalt path and narrower secondary walking path constructed of crushed gravel. At the western terminus in Manayunk it connects to the Schuylkill River Trail, which runs along the Schuylkill River from Philadelphia to Pottsville and connects to the East Coast Greenway, an ambitious route that stretches nearly 3,000 miles from Canada to Key West.
Chris Leswing, assistant director of planning for Lower Merion Township, stressed the importance of this development: “The Cynwyd Heritage Trail is a keystone link in the Schuylkill River Trail. This project is part of a larger and very ambitious multi-community project that is driving trail development up and down the Schuylkill River.”