Land and Water Trail Development in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has been a
leader in trail development for several decades. Because of this work, many of
the easiest trail miles have been built and are currently being enjoyed by Pennsylvania’s
residents and visitors.
Several of the state’s larger trail systems are complete or nearly complete;
and a statewide network of land and water trails is gradually being realized.
DCNR’s goal is
to have a trail within 15 minutes of every Pennsylvania citizen.
of Recreation and Conservation supports the non-motorized and motorized trail
community by providing financial and technical resources and the strategic
vision necessary to meet this goal.
Pennsylvania’s Trail Network Strategy
The Pennsylvania Land and Water Trail
Network Strategic Plan (PDF) offers the goals and recommendations for development of a statewide network of
greenways and trails.
The trail network strategic plan is part of the Pennsylvania Statewide Comprehensive
Outdoor Recreation Plan (PDF),
which helps to guide strategy for local governments, state government, and
other outdoor recreation providers.
Pennsylvania Land Trail Gaps
DCNR works with
partners to identify and map trail gaps on Pennsylvania’s major and regionally
significant greenway and trail systems. Closing these identified 248
trail gaps is a
Top 10 Trail Gaps in Pennsylvania
strategy identifies the state’s most important and significant gaps as
the Top 10 Trail Gaps. These 10 trail gaps represent projects
connect contiguous open miles of trails
construction or rehabilitation of major infrastructure
a large funding need
focusing on closing these top trail gaps by the end of 2019.
Pennsylvania’s Major Greenways
Since 2001, DCNR has maintained a map of the state’s major greenways (PDF), which are existing or planned
long-distance corridors (at least 50 miles long) that pass through two or more
counties and are recognized in official planning documents by counties.
The purpose of identifying and mapping these
corridors is to inform and guide greenway and open space planners, as well as
focus trail development efforts in these corridors.
They represent the major “arteries” of
the developing statewide greenway system, which includes land and water trails.
Pennsylvania’s Water Trails
Pennsylvania’s water trail network includes 26 separate water trails
spanning more 2,100 miles of recreation opportunity.
the creation of the water trail system, and provide support to the diverse
managers of designated water trails, the Pennsylvania Water Trail Partnership
was formed during 2008. The partnership includes:
The partnership provides financial and
technical assistance to water trail managers, and offers a statewide process
for water trail
Water trails are also highlighted in the Pennsylvania Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan, which identifies the outdoor recreation priorities for the state for the next five years (2014–2019). DCNR is working to advance several actions from the plan related to water trails, including:
Evaluating strategic gaps in public access along water trails
Increasing public access to water trails in coordination with other projects such as transportation and utility projects
Developing and implementing a trail ambassador program
During 2016, the water trails program was reevaluated and a strategic plan was created. Early implementation actions from the strategic plan are:
A mini-grant program for water trail managers
Water trail program guidelines and standards
Water trails promotional materials to engage additional partners
Annual Trails Reports
Annual reports document the accomplishments of Pennsylvania’s trail groups and illustrate the dedication of many trail planners, builders, volunteers, funders, and advocates to advancing the goal of having a trail within 15 minutes of every citizen.