Creating a Native Meadow to Improve Storm Water Management and Restore Wildlife
In 2022, The Friends partnered with the Lower Merion Conservancy to improve the quality of the landscape along the trail, funded through a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant from the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund. During heavy rain, water rips down the Trail, forcing gravel, sediment, and other pollutants over the Trail before flowing into Vine Creek and the Schuylkill River.
This project, designed by landscape design Bob Gray, uses green strategies to capture and filter stormwater. The plan converts lawn to meadow and calls for planting hundreds of tress, shrubs, and other plants. This will add to the habitat for insects and wildlife and will contribute to year-round beauty for trail users. The plantings will also filter harmful sediments from stormwater runoff, resulting in cleaner water going into the waterways.
Informative walks and interpretive signage are planned to educate the publish about the importance of maintaining quality watersheds.
New Trail Signage and Lighting
Lighting was installed along the Manayunk Bridge that connects Lower Merion to Philadelphia, allowing the gates at both ends of the bridge to be open at all times. The Friends continue to explore efforts to add additional lighting along the trail from the bridge to the Barmouth Trailhead.
In 2023, the Friends will install new signage/markers on nearby street intersections to direct visitors to the trailheads. Signage also will be installed on the bridge parapet wall on Conshohocken State Road adjacent to Cynwyd Station.
A mural is proposed for the Belmont Avenue bridge abutment walls that pass under on the trail. Lower Merion Township received a $30,000 grant from the Commonwealth to fund the mural project. The project is managed by the Township's Parks and Recreation Department, along with a steering committee of the Friends.
The Friends look forward to the redesigned of the Barmouth Trailhead. Funded by Lower Merion Township and managed by its Parks and Recreation Department, the project seeks to enhance the Barmouth Trailhead - the historic location of the Barmouth Train Station - and the most frequently-used access point on the trail. The project will create a comfort station and central gathering space for community functions. We hope this project will begin in 2024.
The Friends are supporting the Township's extension of the trail from the Cynwyd Train Station to the Bala Train Station at City Avenue. We expect this project will be completed in 2024.