Natural log bench built by Zach as part of the trail reroute project.

Open Land Conservancy (OLC) announced that a new trail has opened at the 88-acre George Lorimer Preserve in Chester County. While the preserve only has around 3 miles of walking trails, one of the most popular trails led down a hill to a small pond. However, the combination of high foot-traffic and the steep downhill route for erosive run-off rendered the trail rocky and uneven.

However, thanks to Eagle Scout candidate, Zach Munch and his team from the Devon 50 troop, they were able to work with Preserve Manager Art Blumenthal and OLC VP Ray Clarke to identify a switchback by-pass route through the adjacent woods that not only reduced the trail’s passage through steep slopes, but it also allowed for the removal of non-native honeysuckle shrubs. The trail project was completed in November 2019 and recently had its inaugural user this past spring.

Erosion below the new section of the trail, where it crosses a small tributary to Valley Creek (state-designated Exceptional Value), is however an ongoing issue.  A culvert takes the tributary under the trail into a small in-line pond and in order to protect the downstream dam for the pond, the culvert inlet is restricted and in heavy storm events a bypass takes run-off over the trail and around the pond.  Rains during the last couple of years have caused deep erosion at the end of this bypass channel, although the trail is still passable.  OLC is currently working with local agencies and stormwater engineers to come up with a solution: either to remove the dam or stabilize the bypass, and in either case hopefully improve the invasive-dominated riparian vegetation (honeysuckle, multiflora).

OLC is grateful to Zach, his troop, and the Eagle Scouts who (throughout the decades)  have built bridges, trails, kiosks, signs, fences, and have ultimately done so much to sustain OLC’s precious open space and make it accessible for visitors to enjoy.

OLC is an organization who depends on volunteers.  If you would like to volunteer and make a difference in preserve OLC’s open space, fill out this form and OLC will add interested individuals to their email list.

 

Portions of this article were originally written by OLC, with additional contributions made by Ray Clarke.