The Bern Township Supervisors and the Schuylkill River Heritage Area will cut the ribbon on a new section of trail Wednesday, December 11, 2013.The ribbon cutting ceremony will take at 2:00 p.m. near Washington Street where the trail ends at Herbine’s Lock, a canal remnant from the former Schuylkill Navigation System.
The 2,100-foot long, 10-foot wide, gravel multi-use trail follows the river edge stretching from a nine-acre proposed park site off Washington Street, south to Herbine’s Lock. It was constructed by the Bern Township road crew and paid for with a grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s (DVRPC) Recreational Trails Program.
The newly completed section is the first part of a 2.2-mile trail that will connect Bern and Ontelaunee Townships through Leesport Borough. When finished, it will consist of two off-road trail segments connected by an on-road piece.
Next year a northern trail segment will be constructed along a former canal bed, stretching 1,843 feet from Belleman’s Church Road to Canal Street in Leesport. From Canal Street, signs will direct trail users to follow an on-road route that takes them to Wall Street, across the Schuylkill River along an existing bridge to South Schuylkill Avenue, and finally to Washington Street. There it will go off-road again along the recently completed section.
The new trail will eventually connect to the larger Schuylkill River Trail (SRT), along what has been recognized as a high-priority gap in the SRT—the 20-mile Reading-to-Hamburg section.
The Schuylkill River Heritage Area has created a signed, on-road route for cyclists wishing to continue along the trail from where it breaks off in Reading to where it picks up again in Hamburg. Plans call for constructing an off-road trail along that route as funds and resources become available. The new section represents one of the first off-road pieces of the Reading-to-Hamburg section.
When complete, the Schuylkill River Trail will total about 130 miles and stretch from Philadelphia to Pottsville.