Water trail under consideration

The Brandywine Conservancy is conducting a feasibility study on establishing a water trail on the Brandywine Creek. The trail would include both the West and East branches of the creek and run from Coatesville and Downingtown and downstream into Delaware.

There have been two public meetings on the subject with the first held last week in Downingtown and the second was last night at the conservancy. There was no formal presentation at the Chadds Ford meeting, just a series of stations where interested people could see what was under consideration and talk with conservancy representatives.

Rod Daniels, a senior land use planner, said the idea is similar to establishing a walking trail, but this would be a recreational trail on water. If it comes to fruition — and that’s several years away if at all — there would be greater access to the creek for kayakers, canoeists and tubers. There would also be signage along the bank.

Interested people check out a creek map and write recommendations.

“A lot of people want to see more put ins and take outs,” [where they can get their boats and tubes in and out of the water] Daniels said. “The trail would provide an opportunity for more involvement. It would create a community of creek users.”

Conservancy Executive Director Ellen Ferretti said the trail would enable the conservancy to provide “structured access to the creek without interfering with private property.”

Sheila Fleming, the conservancy’s manager for municipal assistance, said there could be some easements involved, but even conservancy land might be used.

“Conservancy lands are on the table,” she said.

Fleming also said the project is one of the projects the conservancy is working on with the William Penn Foundation.

“Penn wants to see promotion of access to the creek for recreation,” Fleming said.

Among area residents who attended was Chadds Ford’s Dave Poston. Poston is also a member of the Chadds Ford Open Space Committee and he was checking the subject for himself as well as the committee.

“I’m really interested in the area and boating is a wonderful way to see it,” he said.

Jarl Mork, of Birmingham Township, said he wants to see creek access in his township.

“It’s a shame Birmingham permits no access to the Brandywine,” Mork said. “The creek is the township’s prime feature, next to Sandy Hollow.”

Daniels said the study would continue throughout this year, then the conservancy will make a submission for grants and then apply for a water trail designation.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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