Public meetings planned to present proposed trail alignments in Schuylkill County

Public meetings scheduled on Nov. 1 and Nov. 8 will introduce area communities to an ongoing feasibility study for two Schuylkill River Trail segments in Schuylkill County.

The Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area manages the Schuylkill River Trail in Berks and Schuylkill Counties.  Schuylkill River Greenways currently has several ongoing projects that will continue the extension of the trail in Schuylkill County. This includes a 1.7-mile gap in the trail between Auburn and Landingville as well a 3-mile gap from Mount Carbon to Schuylkill Haven.

The Auburn to Landingville gap will be the topic of the first public meeting on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. The meeting will be held 7 p.m. at Auburn Borough Hall. The Mount Carbon to Schuylkill Haven gap will be the topic of the second meeting on Nov. 8, 2018. This meeting will take place 7 p.m. at the Fryer Conference Center at Penn State Schuylkill.

Schuylkill River Greenways is dedicated to closing these two gaps to be that much closer to the completion of the entire trail. There are currently 75 miles of the Schuylkill River Trail completed and when finished it will run 120 miles from Frackville to Philadelphia.

The consultant, Simone Collins Landscape Architecture is preparing the feasibility study to look at alignment options for the two sections. The consultant team has identified several different trail alignments and options for road and river crossings. The purpose of the public meetings is to hold an open discussion with the future neighbors of the trail and the local community to consider various options for the trail route.

A principal section of the Schuylkill River Trail that runs through Schuylkill and Berks Counties is called the John Bartram Trail. The two segments being discussed at the public meetings will be part of this specific piece of trail. It’s built on a former railroad right of way. The mostly flat trail is wide enough for both walkers and cyclists to use comfortably.

Currently about 10 miles of the Bartram Trail exists in four disconnected pieces. In 2017, a new 1.4-mile segment of the Bartram Trail was completed linking Pottsville to Schuylkill Haven. This constructed segment is especially important because the Pennsylvania Department of Conversation and Natural Resources identified this area as a high priority trail gap.