Sustainable Trails Initiative
Funded by: The William Penn Foundation, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PA Commonwealth Financing Authority – Department of Community and Economic Development, multiple private donors.
The Sustainable Trails Initiative (STI) is a multi-year campaign to create a sustainable trail network that limits erosion and protects the fragile forest habitat while enhancing recreational experiences throughout the park. Trails that are stable and resist erosion help reduce sediment and nutrients from washing into Wissahickon Creek. Through the STI program, FOW builds trails that remain dry, shed water off the trail surface, and provide safe footing for all trail users. Existing trails that do not properly drain runoff become severely eroded and are targeted for closure.
A healthy forest canopy captures rainfall, filters runoff, and reduces soil erosion in the watershed and restoring native vegetation is an essential component of the STI. FOW organizes and trains volunteers to remove invasive species and reestablish native plants that provide habitat for wildlife. These efforts may involve installing deer fences or tree guards to protect plants as they mature becoming important food sources for animal species that rely on their flowers, seeds, and berries.
Since 2006, FOW has built or restored more than 13 miles of trails and closed more than 9 miles.