IN Phoenixville Area Summer 2017 - Page 46

French Creek Trail ~ A Recreational Gem for our Township It is with great pride that we announce that the French Creek Trail (FCT) now extends from Township Line Road to Hares Hill Road. The trail follows sections of the railway bed of the Pickering Valley Railroad as well as the right of way created from the installation of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority Sewer Line. This project began twenty years ago and is a true gem for our township. Grants from Chester County and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) helped to fund construction of the ADA accessible section of the trail as well as the second pedestrian bridge which was completed in 2014 and is located 0.27 miles downstream from Hares Hill Road. When one hikes or bikes the trail there are blazes on the trees which provide Creek to the parking lot at the Rapps Dam Road Trail Head. This project also included the construction of a pedestrian bridge over a wetland stream. In 2012 Jared Laird and the Scouts of Troop 85 Phoenixville blazed and cleared 0.27 miles of trail from Hares Hill Road downstream to the pedestrian bridge. Justin Ackroyd installing cribbed steps. HARES HILL RD 1 CA M 3 S Pennsylvania National Guard ST AR S 6 East Pikeland Municipal Complex 2 Shoppes at Valley Forge EN RD 23 EV ERE D W . S M R 5 4 B East Pikeland Elementary School A S D P C O U N CI L R D RD k St. Basil's Church NS Maple Lawn Village N RD Kimberton Fire Company Kimberton Park KIMBERTO ne do an (Ab h d) Fr enc in g V ad alle y Railr o k ee Pic ke r Cr MO W PP RA 113 113 Legend Natural Surface Trail Proposed Natural Surface Trail 2 Rapps Dam Ruins & Pedestrian Bridge 3 Snyder Residence & Barn Ruins S Stepped Access (from Overcreek Rd.) 4 Thomas Snyder's Oil & Spoke Mill . S EV (Abandoned) Pickering Valley Railroad E B Future Bridge 5 Rapp's Covered Bridge Boundary of 1777 Continental S Powder Works Tract RD 1 Hares Hill Iron Bridge 6 Continental Powder Works Archaeological Dig Site Mill Race E 113 Parking Area / Trailhead Handicap Parking Area Asphalt Trail N ST AR Significant amounts of energy, time and focus have been dedicated to achieving this milestone. Two of the larger projects are the pedestrian bridges that were constructed over French Creek. The Radio Salvacion Bridge was completed in 2013. It was financed through a large donation from WPHE Radio Salvacion 690 AM Philadelphia, the radio station which owns the radio towers on township land adjacent to the trail. Salvacion installed the bridge at their expense – just over $200,000. This bridge is located 0.3 miles upstream of Rapps Dam Road at the site of the old Rapps Dam, which was washed out in the 1970s. guidance to ensure you are headed in the right direction and direct you to stay on the trail. Most of the trail is very wide with an obvious path to follow throughout the 2 miles. However, it did not start out that way. Many Eagle Scout projects have been completed over the years to make the trail one contiguous connected route. The scouts cleared deadwood, removed numerous wild roses, vines and thorns, and routed the trail over varied terrain through the woods. Details of these projects follow: In 2011 Jacob Miller and the Scouts of Troop 158 Kimberton blazed the FCT ½ mile from the western side of the Villas at French Jared Laird Eagle Project 44 Phoenixville Area In 2013 Justin Ackroyd and the Scouts of Troop 158 Kimberton created and installed cribbed steps to descend the hill from Overcreek Road to the trail. They blazed and cleared a trail from the Overcreek Trail Spur downstream to the field where the Salvacion Radio Towers are located. In 2014 Shane Kramer and the Scouts of Troop 158 Kimberton constructed a 17-foot pedestrian bridge next to Snyder’s Mill to allow access from the Rapp’s Dam Trailhead parking lot to the paved ADA trail. Shane Kramer bridge In 2013, resident and building preservation craftsman, Andrew Gustine created the kiosk at the Rapps Dam Trail head that was constructed from a historic white oak tree that fell down. In 2014 Eli Brown and the Scouts of Troop 521 West Norriton constructed and installed the boardwalk over the wetlands between the township compost yard and the trail. Also in 2014 Matt Steplewski and the Scouts of Troop 85 Phoenixville constructed and installed the kiosk and bench at the Hares Hill road trailhead. The last 0.5 mile of the trail was made possible by the Open Space committee acquiring a 2.8 acre property along