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$10.6 Million Boost Will Close Key Gaps In Regional Circuit Trails Network

Friday, June 1, 2018

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PHILADELPHIA (June 1, 2018) – Within the last six months, partners in the regional Circuit Trails Coalition received a combined $10.6 million from the William Penn Foundation toward their continued work to build multi-use trails throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. With the goal of an 800-mile system of interconnected trails, 329 miles of The Circuit Trails are currently built, but are disconnected by key gaps where trails are planned for but not yet developed. The Foundation’s funding will accelerate the completion of the trails and close some of the major gaps in the system. The trails provide opportunity for recreation, exercise, and travel, as well as valuable access to miles of rivers and streams.

“With more than half of the total project left to complete, we have established an interim goal of reaching 500 trail miles by the year 2025,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, chairperson of the Circuit Trails Coalition and executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “The Foundation’s funding is so critical to helping the Coalition achieve this ambitious goal, as every mile of multi-use trail requires a significant level of investment for planning, feasibility study, design and construction as well as communication, advocacy, and organizing. We are so grateful for the long-standing support of the Foundation,” Stuart said. 

Out of the total $10.6 million, $6.6 million in capital funding was awarded to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to provide technical assistance and administer a competitive re-grant fund for planning, design, and construction of new trails.

Other Circuit Trails Coalition organizations receiving grants for supporting work, including planning, communications, and programming, include:

  •  Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to develop campaigns and programs to increase the visibility and advance completion of the trails.
  •  D&R Greenway Land Trust to advance The Circuit in Burlington and Mercer Counties, New Jersey.
  •  Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art to plan and develop new Circuit Trails in the Brandywine Creek valley.
  •  Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor to analyze potential new public access points to the Delaware Canal Trail, a portion of The Circuit Trails network.
  •  Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to market and promote The Circuit Trails in order to increase trail use and build support for more public funding.
  •  Heritage Conservancy for outreach and programming in Bristol, Pa., and along the Delaware Canal in Bucks County to connect gaps in and increase use of The Circuit Trails.
  •  Schuylkill River Development Corporation to complete the final design for the Christian to Crescent segment of the Schuylkill River Trail, a key segment of the Circuit Trails.

The Circuit Trails is one of the largest trail networks in the United States. Once complete, this system will serve as a powerful connector between communities and their local parks and waterways within the Delaware River watershed. Years of hard work by more than 60 Coalition partners has generated local momentum and attracted additional funding sources for the trails. In March, The Circuit Trails celebrated a significant success when U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced that the federal government approved a $12 million TIGER grant for the Christian to Crescent segment of the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia, a key trail within the Circuit.

The Circuit makes our region stronger by providing a place for healthy transportation and recreation, connecting communities to green spaces, and making neighborhoods more attractive places to live and work. The Circuit Trails connect urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout and beyond the Greater Philadelphia area. According to a survey of Circuit Trails users completed by the Rails to Trails Conservancy, more than half of current trail-goers use the trails for health and fitness, followed by recreational activities such as walking, running, and hiking. A significant number of them – approximately 30 percent – use the trails daily or every other day.

“The Circuit Trails bring enormous value to communities across the region. They foster critical connections between communities, and bring people closer to our rivers and streams. We are proud to collaborate with other key organizations in the work of completing the full system of trails,” said Andrew Johnson, Program Director of Watershed Protection at the William Penn Foundation.

About the Circuit Trails

Greater Philadelphia is the proud home of the Circuit Trails, a vast regional trail network of hundreds of miles of multi-use trails that is growing in size each year. One of America’s largest trail networks, the Circuit currently includes more than 320 miles of completed multi-use trails with a vision of more than 800 miles of interconnected trails across the nine-county region in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Nearly 65 nonprofit organizations, foundations and agencies are working together as part of the Circuit Trails Coalition to advance the completion of the trail network. A premiere regional amenity, the Circuit Trails connect our people to our local communities, providing endless opportunities for recreation and commuting.  So whether you bike it, walk it, run it or paddle alongside it, the point is — just enjoy it. Learn more at and connect with the Circuit Trails on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out what is happening #onthecircuit.

About the William Penn Foundation

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance opportunity, ensure sustainability, and enable effective solutions. The Foundation’s assets exceed $2.6 billion as of December 31, 2017.

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