Challenge yourself to a ride on an internationally-acclaimed mountain biking trail, kayak the vast Blue Marsh Lake, learn about the green features of the region’s newest nature center–and make sure you’re back from dinner in time for an urban ghost tour through downtown Reading before bed!
Join upwards of 200 other trail professionals, volunteers, enthusiasts and advocates when the 2017 Pennsylvania Greenways and Trails Summit comes to Reading September 24-26th. With a theme of Bringing Trails Home: Embracing All Terrains, Serving All People, this year’s summit will speak to the state’s strategic focus in connecting and creating trails that unify all people and create networks of economic activity, culture, health, and accessibility.
The three-day summit will center around downtown Reading’s DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, featuring educational sessions, mobile workshops, and nationally-recognized speakers.
2017 Summit Highlights include:
- Bike on an acclaimed International Mountain Biking Association Bronze Level Ride Center in Mt. Penn Preserve; or on the flat, lowland trails that connect Reading to nearby recreation and cultural centers.
- Learn forest management by walking the trails at Nolde Forest, where resource management projects will be observed and discussed.
- Be inspired by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) features of Berks Nature’s brand-new environmental education center, The Nature Place.
- Paddle and hike your way through an afternoon at Blue Marsh Lake, learning about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recreation mission.
- Take a walk through the wetlands at Angelica Park, learning the effects wetlands have on wildlife habitats, drinking water, beer manufacturing, and other products.
- Go back in time through a hike on the Union Canal Towpath and visit to the Berks County Heritage Center, focusing on the history and natural heritage of the Berks County Parks and Recreation trail system.
- Cindy Adams Dunn: Secretary, PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
- Roy Gothie: Statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator, Multimodal Division, PennDO
- Angela Park: Founder and Director of Mission Critical, an organization dedicated to making social justice and equity hallmarks of progressive advocacy and policy makin
- Aaron Brown: Former Board President for Oregon Walks, the state’s pedestrian advocacy organization
Seven organizations from across Pennsylvania submitted proposals to host the biannual summit, organized every other year by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society (PRPS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), along with a host in the chosen city. Reading was selected from a joint proposal submitted by Schuylkill River National Heritage Area and Berks Nature.
“The Schuylkill River Heritage Area, along with Berks Nature, is extremely excited to be hosting the 2017 Greenways and Trails Summit this September,” said Tim Fenchel, deputy director for Schuylkill River National Heritage Area. “Not only will the Summit offer relevant and practical educational workshops and sessions but participants from around the state will also get to see, experience, and understand the incredible diversity of outdoor recreational assets that our region has to offer.”
Berks Nature President Kim Murphy added that the summit would highlight “all the hard work our Greater Reading Trails Partnership has done to improve our local trails systems over the past decade.”
Among the other entities and organizations involved in the planning of the summit over the past year are Berks Area Mountain Biking Association, the City of Reading, Berks County, Pagoda Pacers, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Natural Lands Trust, Structure Green, Nolde Forest, the Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
“We are happy to help attract commerce to Greater Reading and thrilled that the Greenways and Trails Summit will be here in 2017,” Murphy said. “The summit will be a great opportunity for us to showcase the greater Reading area and our magnificent trails and natural resources.”