Miracle-Nature Trail Updates & Information

BACKGROUND & INTRODUCTION

The Township has taken the necessary steps to begin exploring the possibility of creating a new trail within Whitemarsh Township. Aptly named the "Miracle-Nature Trail" (MNT), the project's concept is to create a linear, ADA accessible, trail that incorporates inclusive sensory elements, natural amenities, and other potential community enhancements. The proposed trail would also serve the community as a vital link to the Schuylkill River Trail, the Cross County Trail, and surrounding township and county parks. The proposed location for the trail includes the 1-mile PECO utility corridor extending through Whitemarsh Township, spanning from the township boundary at Butler Avenue to Hector Street, as well as, the bicyclist/pedestrian network between where the utility corridor ends at Hector Street, and the SEPTA Spring Mill Regional Rail Station trailhead of the Schuylkill River Trail.

In 2020, Whitemarsh Township received $80,000 of grant-awarded funding; $40,000 from Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' (DCNR) C2P2 Grant Program, matched by another $40,000 through Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's (DVRPC) Phase VII of the Regional Trails Program. The Township is currently utilizing the grant-awarded funding to conduct a feasibility study for the trail concept. Gilmore & Associates, Inc. is serving as the lead consultant throughout this grant process.

MNT - Simple Overview Map Opens in new window(Click Map to Enlarge)

MIRACLE-NATURE TRAIL (MNT) PROJECT UPDATES

Whitemarsh Township is happy to announce that the feasibility study process for the Miracle-Nature Trail, is underway! As we move forward through this process, this web page will be updated to include the latest news & information. Updates will be made available as developments occur, so please be sure to check back periodically.


Announcement: Miracle-Nature Trail - Neighbor's Focus Group Meeting

Thursday, August 26, 2021 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm at the Cedar Grove Barn in Cedar Grove Park (100 Cedar Grove Road, Conshohocken, PA)

The Whitemarsh Township Miracle-Nature Trail Project Team consisting of consultants from Gilmore & Associates, Inc. and Campbell & Thomas Architects, and also Parks and Recreation Department Staff invites adjacent property neighbors to the PECO utility corridor (proposed location of the Miracle-Nature Trail), for a “Neighbor’s Focus Group Meeting”.  Adjacent property neighbor feedback and participation in the feasibility study process are encouraged, needed, and appreciated.  The “Neighbor’s Focus Group Meeting” of the proposed Miracle-Nature Trail will be held on Thursday, August 26th, 2021 from 6-7:30 PM at the Cedar Grove Barn in Cedar Grove Park (100 Cedar Grove Road, Conshohocken, PA, 19428).  This meeting will provide an overview and background of the proposed trail and feasibility study process to date, while allowing ample time for feedback and discussion to answer questions and address any concerns.  Please note that this focus group is for adjacent property neighbors of the PECO Utility corridor (proposed location of the Miracle Nature-Trail).  All attendees interested in participating are required to pre-register by calling the Parks & Recreation Office at (610) 828-7276 or by clicking the link below. Pre-registration is required to ensure all current CDC guidelines relating to COVID-19 are followed.

Register for the Miracle-Nature Trail – Neighbor’s Focus Group Meeting


Announcement: Guided Miracle-Nature Trail Public Walk (On-Site) *NEW DATE*

Tuesday, July 20, 2021 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Whitemarsh Township, in conjunction with Gilmore & Associates, Inc., invites members of the public who live and/or work in and around Whitemarsh Township, to participate in the Guided Miracle-Nature Trail Public Walk (On-Site) on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, from 6:00pm - 7:30pm. Robert Thomas of Campbell & Thomas Architects will lead the group on a guided walking tour through selected areas of the proposed trail. All attendees interested in participating are required to pre-register by calling the Parks & Recreation Office at (610) 828-7276 or by clicking the link below. Pre-registration is required to ensure all CDC guidelines relating to COVID-19 are followed.

Update: Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Whitemarsh Township Miracle-Nature Trail Project Team held the “Guided Miracle-Nature Trail Public Walk (On-Site) on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 at 6pm. Robert Thomas of Campbell & Thomas Architects lead the group on a guided walking tour beginning at the Hector Street section by Spring Mill Fire Company, the group then met at Cedar Grove Park and moved to Wells Street Nature section walking towards the Schuylkill River overlook taking in the vast views of the area. Next, the walk headed back across Wells Street and went to the Miracle section walking to the peak and looking to the horizon at Butler Pike, examining potential community connections and enjoying several deer prancing playfully in the evening sunset. Robert Thomas was particularly insightful with his trail history, expertise, and architectural knowledge with some compelling comparisons and stories. The Public Walk was well attended despite the summer heat and contained lots of good information sharing, feedback, and discussion. Attendees received a water bottle, and a handout which is attached below that included a Project Summary and Site Map. Also included below are Summary Discussion Notes from the event.

Miracle-Nature Trail Public Walk: Project Summary Sheet

Miracle-Nature Trail Public Walk: Map Handout (11x17)

Miracle-Nature Trail Public Walk: Summary Discussion Notes


Announcement: Guided Miracle-Nature Trail Public Walk (On-Site)

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 from -POSTPONED-

The Whitemarsh Township Miracle-Nature Trail Project Team and Steering Committee has postponed the “Guided Miracle-Nature Trail Public Walk (on-Site)” scheduled for Tuesday, July 6th, 2021, due to the projected weather forecast of thunderstorms and lightning during the scheduled times in the interest of public safety. Once the new date has been selected, it will be advertised in the Whitemarsh Weekly for interested participants to register to attend.


Steering Committee Meeting #2

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Miracle-Nature Trail Steering Committee held their second meeting, virtually, on Thursday, May 20th, 2021. The committee members were updated on the ongoing project tasks and the deliverables completed, thus far. The committee also reviewed and provided their feedback to the draft concept plan, and discussed upcoming public and committee meetings & events for the Miracle-Nature Trail Feasibility Study project.


Virtual Public Presentation & Listening Session

Held: Thursday, April 15, 2021 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Whitemarsh Township, in conjunction with Gilmore & Associates, Inc., invites members of the public who live and/or work in and around Whitemarsh Township, to participate in the Virtual Public Presentation & Listening Session for the Miracle-Nature Trail project, on Thursday, April 15th, 2021, from 6:00pm - 7:30pm, via the Zoom platform. In order to participate in the public meeting, please register an e-mail address through the "Zoom Public Presentation & Listening Session Registration" button, located below. Once you've registered, an e-mailed invitation containing the Zoom meeting information, will be sent to the e-mail address you provided.

Update: Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Virtual Public Presentation & Listening Session was completed on Thursday, April 15, 2021. Thank you to everyone who participated and provided important feedback for the Miracle-Nature Trail project feasibility study. The PowerPoint presentation from the session has been made available below.

April 15, 2021 - Miracle-Nature Trail Public Presentation & Listening Session PowerPoint


Public Survey

Held: Monday, February 22, 2021 - Friday, March 19, 2021

Whitemarsh Township, in conjunction with Gilmore & Associates, Inc., invite members of the public from in and around Whitemarsh Township, to provide their input on the Miracle-Nature Trail project, by completing the Miracle-Nature Trail Public Survey. The Public Survey, which can be completed by Whitemarsh Township Residents and Non-Residents (regional trail), will be available online starting Monday, February 22nd, 2021, through Friday, March 19th, 2021. You're invited to share the Public Survey with your communities, neighbors, friends, and colleagues.

Update: Friday, March 19, 2021

The Miracle-Nature Trail Public Survey was completed on Friday, March 19th, 2021. Thank you to everyone who participated and provided important feedback to the Miracle-Nature Trail project. We received a tremendous response from the community with 508 individuals completing the public survey. We look forward to receiving additional community input throughout the feasibility study process. To learn more about the Miracle-Nature Trail project, we encourage you to attend a future public session. All public session dates will be made available on this web page.


Steering Committee Meeting #1

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Miracle-Nature Trail Steering Committee held their first meeting, virtually, on Thursday, January 14th, 2021. After general information & announcements were completed, the Steering Committee members introduced themselves to the group. After introductions, the committee members provided feedback on a draft version of the Public Survey, which will be utilized in the near future to collect feedback from the general public, regarding the Miracle-Nature Trail project. 


Steering Committee 

Fall 2020

Throughout the fall 2020 season, Whitemarsh Township, in conjunction with Gilmore & Associates, Inc., assembled a "Steering Committee" for the Miracle-Nature Trail feasibility study. The creation of a Steering Committee is a required step in the feasibility study process, as outlined by DCNR. The Steering Committee consists of a diverse group of dedicated individuals from the community, including: elected officials, school district administrators, law enforcement & other emergency services personnel, religious leaders, business owners, non-profit administrators, recreation personnel, local user-group administrators, and other local leaders. The diversity of the group is an important factor, to ensure that all interests and perspectives are taken into consideration while developing the project plan.  The Steering Committee will meet periodically over the 2-year period, and aims to serve as a structured decision-making resource for the planning process.

Miracle-Nature Trail Steering Committee Members

  • Nicholas Bell – Whitemarsh Community “Trash Mobs” 
  • Kelsey Boyd – Natural Lands Trust 
  • Laura Boyle-Nester – Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors 
  • Jessica Buck – Montgomery County Conservation District 
  • Jim Convey – Whitemarsh Township Parks and Recreation Board 
  • Joanne Crawford – Whitemarsh Township Parks and Recreation Board 
  • Donna Fabry – Montgomery County Planning Commission 
  • Tara Horowitz – Kiwanis Aktion Club 
  • Lauren Irizarry – Conshohocken Parks and Recreation 
  • Gene Kelly – Colonial School District 
  • Lynda Lawrence – Whitemarsh Township Business Owner 
  • Shawn McGill Legende – Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
  • Chuck Moore – Whitemarsh Athletic Association and Business Owner 
  • Ronaldo Ribiero – Whitemarsh Art Center 
  • Suzanne Ryan – PECO 
  • Tyler Semder - Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 
  • Bob Shoemaker, Jr. – Spring Mill Fire Company 
  • Deb Shreero – Whitemarsh Township Environmental Advisory Board 
  • Andrew Tarry – Conshohocken-Plymouth-Whitemarsh Rotary 

Stakeholder Key-Persons

Fall 2020

Beginning in September of 2020, a group of candidates from our community were invited to participate in the process, as "Stakeholder Key-Persons". These individuals, whom were identified as influential leaders throughout our community, were given the opportunity to learn about the potential project, voice any of their related concerns, and provide input & feedback during a Stakeholder Key-Person Interview, facilitated by our Grant Consultant from Gilmore & Associates, Inc. In order  to provide adequate representation of our diverse community, and in accordance with DCNR Grant Program Guidelines, the group of Stakeholder Key-Persons included individuals such as elected officials, school district administrators, law enforcement & other emergency services personnel, religious leaders, business owners, non-profit administrators, recreation personnel, local user-group administrators, and other local leaders.


Inquiries

Whitemarsh Township is working in conjunction with Gilmore & Associates, Inc., on the Miracle-Nature Trail Feasibility Study. Please contact our Grant Consultant from G&A, Inc., Emily Paskewicz, with any inquiries related to the Miracle-Nature Trail Feasibility Study, by using the link below.

Gilmore & Associates, Inc. Logo


Emily Paskewicz - PLA, ASLA, Landscape Architect
Gilmore & Associates, Inc.