Union Twp. >> You could hardly tell from the thick cloud of dust that filled the air, but the Schuylkill River Trail received a much-needed cleanup Sunday, April 19.
More than 25 volunteers from around the tri-county area helped rake and widen the trail at the Union Township Trailhead and Landing from 2-4 p.m. as part of the SRT Spree, a celebration of the Schuylkill River Trail hosted by Schuylkill River Heritage Area and Slyfox Brewing Company. In addition to helping the environment, the event helped usher-in the arrival of the seasonal SRT Ale, the brewing company’s latest beer that celebrates the Schuylkill River Trail and all of the recreational opportunities it presents. Afterward everyone was treated to a free sampling at the incoming Fork and Ale (the former Tim’s Ugly Mug Bar and Grille) for a job well done.
“One thing that’s happened over the years is the trail’s gotten narrower, just from vegetation growing in and that sort of thing,” said Tim Fenchel, grants program manager at Schuylkill River Heritage Area. “So, Greg Marshall — who’s our lead trail volunteer manager — he’s gone out and sort of roughed up the surface of that vegetation and torn it up a little bit. And our volunteers will be going out and raking up all that vegetation, essentially widening the trail back to what we would like to keep it at, which is roughly eight to 10 feet.”
“This is very important,” Marshall said. “This trail is getting a lot more use. Where it’s narrow in this section it’s become somewhat unsafe. So we want to widen it and make it safer for everybody and more enjoyable.”
“It’s important because it brings people together,” said Mark Exley, marketing fellow for Slyfox. “We’ve had families out on the trails, mostly sports people, of course. Many of the events that Slyfox is involved with are family oriented. Even though there’s beer involved the mantra is to get families together to have fun in different kinds of environments.”
Volunteers were scattered out across the trail and the goal was to rake almost a mile of the trail heading toward Birdsboro.
“I think it’s a great community effort,” said Jane Reiff, of Spring-City. “We ride the trail and I kayak the river, so it’s just giving back to my community.”
“It’s a great event for people to get together and meet other people,” said Kathy Wince, of Pottstown. “We can change the world if we all work together. And then we get beer afterwards.”
“I’m very impressed with the turn out,” said volunteer Jesse Otto. “I think they did an excellent job.”
Volunteer Ed Poppert, from Royersford, said the event also helps save tax payer money.
“Money’s always tight,” he said. “Funding goes up and down … so having volunteers (work the trail) keeps the costs down.”
Gary and Melissa Fry, co-owners of the Fork and Ale, said they were happy to provide a place for the community to come together after a hard day’s work.
“I think it’s great,” Melissa said. “It promotes environmental cleanup and also it’s supporting the local brewery, which is what we’re about in our business concept.”
“Anything that gets people out to do trail cleanup is awesome,” Gary said. “It’s part of why we wanted to buy this place is to be so close to the Schuylkill River Trail. We’re big outdoor enthusiasts. And then for Slyfox to do a beer just for the Schuylkill River Trail is just awesome.”