Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail
The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail (FOCHT) was founded in 2008 by a group of dedicated volunteers committed to supporting the construction of the Trail. Currently, the Friends focus on supporting the volunteer efforts in beautifying the park.
In the future, the group hopes to support the recreational and educational resources of the park and provide for trail amenities. The Friends are now in the United Way’s Donor’s Choice Program. If you want to donate to the Friends through United Way, we are donor organization #51240. You can still use PayPal, too, by clicking the “DONATE NOW”.
MLK Work Day on The Trail 2017
The Friends of The Cynwyd Heritage Trail would like to thank Saint Joseph’s University, Royal Bank, local residents and Chris Leswing for coming out and all their hard work helping to improve The Cynwyd Heritage Trail.
Together we removed Knot Weed, Mug Wort, invasive vines, old tires and tons of debris from The Trail!
A very special thanks to our Board Vice President, Kitty Rapalyea, for organizing the event and to Shirlee Howe for providing us all with hot coffee, donuts and homemade muffins.
The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail 2016 Annual Meeting
On December 5, 2016, The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail held their 2016 Annual Meeting and Reception in the Conservatory at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Community members, volunteers, board members, local commissioners and even a few trail-loving kids celebrated the accomplishments of 2016.
In 2016, The Friends were fortunate to have many hard working volunteers and several were recognized with awards. Liz Paul accepted an award on behalf of the BuildOn Lower Merion High School Chapter. In 2016, the local BuildOn groups showed up consistently to work days helping plant new gardens, fight weeds, and keep the trail clean.
Spencer Segal was also recognized for the work he did with The Friends for his senior project. He assisted in planning and planting the new garden at the entrance to West Laurel Hill at Barmouth Trailhead. His parents were present to accept his award.
The Outstanding Citizen Award went to Ted Goldsborough, who has been quietly and continuously removing graffiti from the trail for several years. His hard work is appreciated by all! Rebecca Rutstein was recognized as the first ‘Outstanding Achievement as Board Member Award’ recipient, for her behind the scenes graphic design work over the last few years.
President, Brandon Shuler and Vice President Kitty Rapalyea shared an overview of 2016 accomplishments and plans for 2017. The Friends are looking forward to another productive year!
The celebration also included guest speaker James Kahn, a Philadelphia lawyer, who among his many qualifications is a lifelong cyclist, who helped found the Schuylkill River Development Council which planned and helped build the Schuylkill Banks trail in Center City Philadelphia. He has also initiated and led efforts to provide bicycle street signage which leads riders and runners to the Cynwyd Heritage Trail, Manayunk Bridge, and through West Laurel Hill Cemetery to the new Pencoyd Bridge. His knowledge and perspective were welcome additions to the festivities.
Bourbon Blue prepared a delicious array of hot and cold appetizers, along with beverages. As always, a fantastic catering experience!
The Annual Meeting and 2016, as a whole, were definitely a success. A big thank you to all of the volunteers and community members that helped make that possible!
Friends November Trail Workday Report
On November 19th, an unusually sunny and warm Saturday, approximately 50 BuildOn volunteers from Harriton and Lower Merion High Schools and Bala Cynwyd Middle School along with a few community members gathered at Barmouth Trailhead.
The group made quick work of clearing a large inclined area along the trail. They cut and pulled out the invasive knotweed, vines and other weeds, we plan to plant native plants to replace the knotweed to create a better environment for our native wildlife.
A second wave went back through with shovels and dug out the roots to try to prevent them from returning. Some of our younger volunteers walked the trail, cleaning up trash as they went.
After the weeds were bagged and the trail cleaned up, the impressive amount of work that had been completed was obvious in the huge pile of bags ready to be picked up and removed.
Thanks to all of our volunteers for a job well done! We couldn’t do it without you.
Friends October Trail Workday Report
Saturday, October 15th was another successful work day on the trail. Around 50 volunteers from Lower Merion and Harriton High School BuildOn groups, community members and FOCHT board members showed up ready to work. The large group made quick work of planting over 200 bulbs at Barmouth, the Belmont trailhead and the overlook at the Spaventa Curve.
Next, more plants were added to the new Barmouth garden, and the beds in that area were weeded. After accomplishing those tasks, the BuildOn groups dug out knotweed roots north of Barmouth. At the same time, a group of Community Service students weeded and cleaned the entrances to the Manayunk bridge.
It was a beautiful day and in addition to the trail work day, it was the 2nd day of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer walk. Throughout the morning, the volunteer groups cheered on the walkers and received many compliments from them in return.
Thanks to all who volunteered for their hard work! See you on the trail.
September Trail Workday Report
On September, 17th eighteen students of BuildOn from Harriton High School (Todd Curyto, faculty supervisor) spread mulch on the newly weeded garden at Barmouth, while forty five students of BuildOn from Lower Merion High School (Tom Reed, faculty supervisor) tackled the weeds on the far side of Vine Creek at the Bala Playground (what we call the Basin).
It was hard work all around, but with the help of these sixty+ students, as well as a new volunteer from the community, we got it done!
The Community Service group, under the direction of Chris Leswing, removed vines from trees and bushes at the Cynwyd Station.
Thanks to all the volunteers and supervisors who help make our trail workdays such a success.
Special Biking Event on the Cynwyd Trail!
This Sunday, September 11, from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, more than 500 bicyclists who are riding in the The 20th annual Scenic Schuylkill Century will cross the Manayunk Bridge, continue from the bridge to the Barmouth trailhead, traverse the West Laurel Hill Cemetery to the Pencoyd Bridge, and continue on for an additional 95 miles through Philadelphia and its suburbs.
Early morning dog-walkers, runners and casual bikers should be aware of increased traffic on the paved area of the Cynwyd Trail between Barmouth and the bridge during this time period.
Places to watch this event include the rock amphitheater that overlooks the bridge entrance (on the Lower Merion side); the hillsides along the path between the bridge and Barmouth; the Barmouth open space; and inside West Laurel Hill Cemetery near the gate to the Cynwyd Trail.
Spectators are encouraged to bring their own coffee and lawn chairs…and to cheer the bikes on.
Remembrances of Peter Brigham
On June 22, 2016 The Friends of The Cynwyd Heritage Trail lost a true advocate and original pioneer, Peter Brigham, who helped make The Cynwyd Heritage Trail a reality.
Those of us who worked along side Peter will never forget his generous spirit and tireless dedication.
Photo credit: George T. Manos
June Workday Reports
On June 4th, volunteers worked together to plant a new garden at Barmouth in front of the entrance to West Laurel Hill. The garden was designed by Rachel Burlington, horticulturist at the Barnes Arboretum and board member, and was the senior project of Spencer Segal, who just graduated from Lower Merion High School. The project began earlier this year, and after the planning phase, included transplanting the taller grasses and native plants from the garden to their new home north on the trail, and replacing them with a thoughtful arrangement of native, flowering, low growing plants. We’re excited to watch this new garden grow, and expect these fledgling plants will follow the general rule of (green) thumb and “sleep” year one as they strengthen their roots, “creep” year two as they explore their new space, and “leap” year three as they claim their new home!
On June 18th, it felt like summer as volunteers gathered at Barmouth where the last few plants were added to the garden. Next, our group moved on to the Cynwyd playground, where volunteers weeded and mulched. Despite the heat, all of the beds on the north side of Vine Creek were completed, with a little mulch left over for Barmouth. Kitty Rapalyea, FOCHT Vice President will be working with a few volunteers to complete the weeding and mulching over the next week, getting us ready for the hot months ahead. (Check out our Facebook page for info, if you’d like to volunteer.)
We couldn’t do it without our dedicated volunteers! A big thank you to all of the buildOn (Lower Merion High and Bala Cynwyd and Welsh Middle Schools) volunteers, the community service groups, Chris Leswing, and the FOCHT board members who participated in our June work days, as well as all of you who have helped in the past! We look forward to seeing you on the trail this summer!
The Trail’s End Cafe has arrived at The Cynwyd Station Trail-Head!
The Trail’s End Cafe, on The Cynwyd Heritage Trail, is ‘the place’ to meet up with friends over good food and great coffee, tea, espresso, pastry, sparkling water, ice cream, or a panini.
They have also generously agreed to set up a ‘Lost and Found’ for users of The Cynwyd Heritage Trail.
Stop by and check out The Trail’s End Cafe today!
For more information, please visit their website: http://trailsend.cafe
Relax in one of our new Adirondack chairs on The Cynwyd Heritage Trail
Often we think of a trail as a way to get from point A to point B, we run, walk or bike to our destination. The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail see it differently. We see the trail with its native plants and plentiful species of birds and other wildlife as a destination.
We invite you to come to the trail and stay awhile. Bring your friends (two legged or four) and relax in one of our new Adirondack chairs. The trail is a great place to connect with community and we hope that you will slow down, relax and enjoy the view!
Look for splashes of orange and teal as these chairs travel to some of our favorite spots along the trail. We hope to see you on the trail soon!
Soak Up the Sun and Get Centered with a Refreshing Outdoor Yoga Class!
The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail have partnered with local yoga studio, Dana Hot Yoga brings you Yoga on the Trail! Starting at 11AM on Sunday May 1st, we invite you to join us in Cynwyd Station Park, right next to the (soon to be open) Trail’s End Cafe for a fun and relaxing yoga class that is appropriate for all levels.
When: 11 AM, 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from May – August
Where: Cynwyd Station Park
What: 60 minute yoga class for all levels
Why: For fun, of course!
Please make sure to BYOM (bring your own mat)
Suggested donation to benefit the Cynwyd Heritage Trail- $5
Thank you to all who came out and made our Fifth Annual Trail Trot and Family Fun Walk Such a success!
Saturday’s beautiful Spring weather and support from our community and volunteers helped make our Fifth Annual Trail Trot and Family Fun Walk a great fund-raising event for future Cynwyd Heritage Trail improvements.
Click on the link below to see Commissioner George T. Manos Trail Trot and Family Fun Walk Photographs:
Fifth Annual Trail Trot & Family Fun Walk Platinum and Silver Sponsors!
The Friends of The Cynwyd Heritage Trail would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of our Fifth Annual Trail Trot & Family Fun Walk.
West Laurel Hill Cemetery
Aquatic and Fitness Center Bala Cynwyd
Valley Forge Fitness
The Cynwyd Club
All are welcome to come out for our Fifth Annual Trail Trot and Family Fun Walk!
Saturday, April 16, 2016 • 9:00 AM
The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail are hosting the Fifth Annual 5k run on the Trail to support improvements to the Cynwyd Heritage Trail. Like last year, we are including a family fun walk.
Race and walker check‐in will start at 8:00 AM with walk starting at 8:45 AM and race starting at 9:00 AM
Location: Barmouth Trailhead – Levering Mill Rd. and Belmont Ave.
Parking is available at Barmouth Trailhead, Bala Cynwyd Playground and Cynwyd Station.
Entry Fee: $25 online or by mail before May 31st OR $30 day of walk/race.
Awards: (RACE ONLY): Male and Female Overall AND 6 Age Groups, including 18 & under.
Amenities: All runners receive a T‐SHIRT!; Walkers receive (1) t‐shirt per family; Additional shirts to be sold at event. Water on the course and a post‐run snack for all runners
Registration: Online at https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/BalaCynwyd/TRAILTROTFAMILYWALK or click here to download the registration form.
You can mail your payment to:
P.O. Box 695
Make checks payable to “Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail”.
Come out and join us Sunday, April 10th for a FOCHT Workday.
The next scheduled workday is a CHANGE from the original schedule. Our new workday is Sunday, April 10th – 9 to 12
We are making this change because the 5th Annual Trail Trot is on Saturday, April 16th.
We will congregate at the Barmouth Trailhead, end of Levering Mill Road, after crossing Belmont Avenue, at 9:00 to collect tools.
We plan on mulching at The Cynwyd Station and Barmouth Trail Head. FOCHT Board Members will be there to help direct you to one of the work areas on the trail.
As always, The Friends will supply tools, gloves, snacks and water for all volunteers, so please come out and lend a hand.
Everyone is welcome!
The Friends of The Cynwyd Trail Workday Report for March 2016
The cooler weather didn’t discourage our hard-working volunteers this past Saturday, March 19. It was another productive work day on The Cynwyd Heritage Trail! The larger of our two groups of volunteers gathered at Cynwyd station to cut back grasses and clear the beds, prepping them to be mulched next month. Several plants were moved in preparation for scheduled maintenance on the pedestrian crossing by SEPTA.
Knotweed and vines were removed from around the twig dogwood and the plants were pruned. Now we just wait for them to bloom! At Barmouth, a smaller group cut the tall grasses and cleared the areas around the trees near the parking lot.
Overall, we made great progress and we’re looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labors now that spring has sprung. A big thank you to all of our volunteers! Your hard work makes a difference! We hope to see you, along with some new faces, at our work day next month. See you on the trail!
Link to March 2016 Cynwyd Trail Workday Photographs:
February Trail Workday Report
On February 20th, an unusually sunny and warm day for February, several groups of volunteers joined the Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail for a successful and productive work day.
Groups from Bryn Mawr College, West Laurel Hill Cemetery, the Aquatic Fitness Center and several others rolled up their sleeves and tackled projects in three separate areas on the trail.
The largest group of volunteers continued a project near the end of Righter’s Ferry Road, which was begun on Martin Luther King Day. The group got in early and made a lot of progress in the ambitious attempt to clear this overgrown section. One more work day and this task should be complete, allowing off-road access to the Pencoyd Bridge section of the trail, prior to the creation of another loop through West Laurel Hill Cemetery.
Near Barmouth, a group of first time trail volunteers pulled out the perpetually sprouting knotweed and cut the English ivy for later removal. Trash was collected by some of our smaller, yet still hard-working volunteers, Zach (6th grade) and Hana (Kindergarten).
Near Cynwyd Station, the suckers and vines were removed, giving the trees in that area room to breathe and bloom as we approach spring. In March we’ll continue removing weeds and start putting down mulch.
We’re right on track this season, thanks to the hard work of all of our dedicated volunteers. Hope to see all of you on the trail!
FOCHT Launch a New Facebook Page!
Even though it’s still cold outside, plans for the trail are heating up! We’re excited for a full year with the bridge open and we have lots of plans for new programs and trail enhancements in 2016. You can stay up to date on all of the trail news by liking our new Facebook page, “The Friends on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail” here. (Yes- we did have a page before, but it was private and our new page is public.)
We’ll be using the page to keep you up-to-date with photos, upcoming events, trail work days and updates. We’d also love to see all of the fun you’re having on the trail as it warms up outside, so definitely post your photos, videos and comments! Please take a moment to “like” our page and be sure to share with your neighbors and friends!
New Facebook Page – Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail
We are looking forward to connecting with you this year!
– The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail
The Friends celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a very special Work Day.
On January 18, 2016, The Friends of The Cynwyd Heritage Trail were joined by volunteers from BuildOn, St. Joe’s University and Court ordered community service workers, who cleared 300 feet of knotweed and Bamboo along Righters Ferry Road. We uncovered 3 feet of pavement that will serve as a bike path from the Pencoyd Bridge to West Laurel Hill Cemetery.
The Friends along with our tireless volunteers also cut back perennials and ornamental grasses, removed over fifty bags of leaves, dead tree limbs and debris from The Barmouth Trailhead and one of our historic Overlook Points on the trail.
Despite the 18 degree temperatures and a wind chill index that dipped below zero, we had a great turn out and effort. Thank you to all for your hard work. Each and every one of you made a difference!
Thanks to all who came out and made our Third Annual Meeting such a success!
The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail held their Annual Dinner at the Conservatory, West Laurel Hill Cemetery, December 15, 2015 with speeches, award presentations, great conversation with wonderfully catered culinary fare and refreshments.
To all those who were able to attend, we thank you for your participation, in what was an evening of tribute to all those who have donated countless hours to make The Cynwyd Heritage Trail into the premier recreational destination it has become. We also discussed the future expansions to the trail and impact of the recently opened Manayunk Bridge!
We enjoyed meeting with you and look forward to improving the trail experience in the year ahead.
Take a moment to relive the evening, by clicking the link below, to George T. Manos candid photographs of our Third Annual Meeting.
We invite you to The Friends of The Cynwyd Heritage Trail Third Annual Meeting!
2015 FOCHT Annual Meeting, December 15, 2015 at 7:00pm
The Conservatory at West Laurel Hill Cemetery
Everyone is welcome to join us December 15, 2015 at 7:00pm for our Annual Meeting at The Conservatory at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. You do not need to be a current member to attend.
Light refreshments will be provided along with presentations about past and future improvements, as well as, ways in which the community can get involved in shaping this future. The Friends’ will also be recognizing our volunteers of year for 2015 with special awards.
Come out and show your appreciation for all the hard work these volunteers have contributed to making The Cynwyd Heritage Trail one of the most popular recreational venues in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
With the support of our members and volunteers, we have accomplished a lot in these first six years. The Trail now extends over the Manayunk Bridge, allowing for connection to the Circuit trail system stretching from Center City to Valley Forge.
If you are a current member, thank you! If your membership may have lapsed, please consider renewing it. Hopefully you can attend our Annual Meeting, so we can all meet and celebrate in person!
Everyone is welcome to attend
The Friends of The Cynwyd Heritage Trail Board Meetings
The FOCHT Board Meetings are the second Monday of every month, (except August), at 6:45 PM in The Bringhurst Funeral Home building at West Laurel Hill Cemetery.
Enter the Cemetery from Belmont Avenue across from the Bala Cynwyd Playground through the main gate and follow the signs to Bringhurst Funeral Home, which is a short distance from the entrance on your left.
Please try to be on time as West Laurel Hill Cemetery holds the gates open for us to enter before and after every meeting.
CELEBRATE!! Group Ride Celebration
Sunday, November 8, 9:30 AM At the Cynwyd Train Station
Come out and join the Friends of the Cynwyd Trail and Main Line Cycles for a celebratory group ride!
ALL SKILL LEVELS
We will be leaving Cynwyd Station as a group and riding across the Manayunk Bridge as a group.
Destinations include Valley Forge Park (16 mi), Outbound Station Conshohocken(8 mi), or Manayunk.
Ride at your pace, your distance and have fun with people of your skill level. We will organize into 2-3 skill level groups starting at 9:30.
ALL ARE WELCOME!
Manayunk Bridge Opening News from the Main Line Times:
The Bala Cynwyd Farmers Market is still open for the 2015 season at its new location on The Cynwyd Heritage Trail, Please note new hours!
Come shop for local and sustainably produced goods from area farmers and food artisans. You’ll find fruits and veggies; honey; breads, cookies, challah and other baked goods; humanely raised meats and pastured eggs; cheeses and award-winning pickles.
When: Thursdays, 1:30-5:30, May-November
Where: The Cynwyd Heritage Trail at Barmouth Trailhead
For more information, visit the market website at:
Thanks to all for coming out and making our 4th Annual Trail Trot and Family Fun Walk a success!
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for their support of our 4th Annual Trail Trot and Family Fun Walk:
Valley Forge Fitness
West Laurel Hill Cemetery
Bala Cynwyd School for Young Children
Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd
Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox
Kessler Topaz Meltzer and Check
Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms
Sidd’s Auto Repair
Cynwyd Heritage Trail Featured in Philadelphia Magazine!
Cynwyd Heritage TrailFor: An all-new view of the Schuylkill
With the anticipated opening of the Manayunk Bridge over the Schuylkill later this year, this two-mile stretch of side-by-side gravel and concrete pathways (for foot and wheel traffic) will become a scenic gateway between Manayunk and the Main Line. The trail runs northeast from Cynwyd Station past Bala Cynwyd Park (water fountains!), West Laurel Hill Cemetery, and pretty views of hillside Manayunk. Clear quarter-mile markers along the way make it perfect for tempo or speed workouts.
Manayunk Bridge Groundbreaking Recap
Lots of dignitaries — Congressman Chaka Fattah, Senator Vince Hughes, State Rep. Pam Delissio, Montco Commissioners Leslie Richards, Josh Shapiro and Bruce Castor; Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor Mike DiBerardinis, DCNR Deputy Secretary Flood, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey.
Lots of smiles – Lots of words about partnerships, colloborations, persistence and getting stuff done! We think Leslie Richards said it best….”This is the coolest project!”
A great day for the Circuit. Click here to learn more
The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail was founded in 2008 by a group of dedicated volunteers committed to supporting the construction of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail. Currently, the Friends focus on supporting the volunteer efforts in beautifying the park. To learn more about the Friends, please see our Membership brochure.
Video created by Joel Tomar Levin