The poll initially had 20 trail nominations picked by a panel of experts and from there the top 10 were selected by an online vote. The experts who made the decision on which routes to include were Barbara Tullpane (National Recreation and Park Association) and Larry Bleiberg (USA TODAY). Their expertise in urban parks and trails across the nation was invaluable in the selection process.
Schuylkill River Trail breezed through the first round thanks to the dedication of local runners and cyclists and safely made it to the final ten. From there on it was a tough fight with fierce competition which included sites such as Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston, Indianapolis Cultural Trail in Indianapolis, Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, S.C., and MKT Nature and Fitness Trail in Columbia.
The MKT Nature and Fitness Trail was a tough participant to dislodge, as the vote became a battle between fans, hell bent on making sure their favorite trail got first place. However, in the end, Schuylkill River Trail came out on top, which is not really a surprise for the thousands of local fans of the beautiful route. After all, which other trail boasts its own beer?
The majestic trail was listed as one of the best features of Philadelphia when the city placed third in the one of the 52 places to go in 2015 article, published by the New York Times. It stretches for over 60 miles already, and in a recent press release, Schuylkill River Development Corporation said it should extend to nearly 130 miles when complete.
Out of its current 60 miles route, 26 miles are between Philadelphia and Phoenixville, while a shorter Chester County section of about six miles, goes from outside Phoenixville in Cromby to Parkerford.
Joseph Syrnick, president, and CEO of Schuylkill River Development Corporation stated in the press release, “We are thrilled that the Schuylkill River Trail has taken the number one spot. Certainly, we have seen the trail become more and more popular, and this honor validates the hard work and investment made by many entities.”
Circuit Coalition which is made up of 43 organizations dedicated to trail development in the region helped enormously to connect sections of the Schuylkill River Trail into one cohesive route. The trail will be a key corridor in the planned 750-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian trails that should eventually become “the Circuit.”
Sarah Clark-Stuart, the chair of the Circuit Coalition stated that the Schuylkill River Trail is an iconic part of the Circuit which, when complete, will give pedestrians and cyclists greater access to trails for recreation and transportation in addition to a gateway to open up more green spaces.
Praise befitting a winner, indeed.