Heritage Conservation Corps Begins Work to Expand Trail in Schuylkill County

A five-person Heritage Conservation Corps is working throughout July to create a 1.4 mile-section of the Schuylkill River Trail in North Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, between Pottsville and Schuylkill Haven.

The new trail segment, located between Tumbling Run Road and Seven Stars Road, is an important piece of Schuylkill County’s Bartram section. This Schuylkill River Trail section was identified as the gap number one by the state Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The Heritage Conservation Corps is composed of four youths aged 16-20, with one adult supervisor. They began work during the last week of June, and they expect to finish in late July.

Since the new trail is being cleared along an old rail line, the existing crushed stone surface will be retained. The Corps’ work will primarily consist of clearing the trail, cutting back shrubbery and installing fencing along steep slopes.

The Conservation Corps was organized by Schuylkill River Heritage Area’s Sustainability Coordinator, Tiara Campbell, who is an AmeriCorps VISTA service member. In addition to building the trail, the Corps will help other community organizations that aim to improve Schuylkill County, including parks and a community garden in Mahanoy City.

The total estimated cost to fund the Heritage Corps and trail project is $45,000. The project is being funded by the William Penn Foundation, PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, Thrivent Financial, the Clif Bar Family Foundation, the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation, and the Summer Youth Work Experience program through the Schuylkill County CareerLink office.

The property where the trail is located is owned by Schuylkill Haven Borough. After the trail is completed, it will be maintained by volunteers. Porcupine Pat, President of the Schuylkill County Conservancy, Schuylkill Conservation District Environmental Education Coordinator, and member of the Heritage Corps Committee, connected with a local high school group who will adopt this trail segment.

Once their work is completed the trail will be opened with an announced ribbon cutting ceremony.