New Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program designed to support neighborhood priorities and establish new relationships between neighborhoods and the trail network across the Greater Philadelphia and southern New Jersey region

PHILADELPHIA – Today, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) and the Circuit Trails Coalition announced an investment of $150,000 to support community-led programming along trails in the nine-county Circuit Trails network in Greater Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. The first-ever Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program is investing in community organizations to support neighborhood priorities through engagement, activities and increased access to the region’s trail network.

“By funding locally led, community-driven projects across the Circuit Trails region, more residents will feel welcome, invited and connected to their neighborhood trail,” said Emilia Crotty, administrator of the Community Grant Program and director of trails and equitable access at PEC. “Grant-funded programs will encourage community members to recreate, rest and recharge in their public spaces, making sure they have access to the tremendous individual and community health benefits of trails.”

Launched by PEC with funding from the William Penn Foundation, the Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program supports community-based, culturally relevant projects and programs on or near multi-use trails that are a part of the Circuit Trails network, which currently encompasses 375 miles of completed trail.

The grant program seeks to create a more welcoming and inclusive experience on the region’s trails and to encourage trail use among the neighborhoods that the developing 800-mile Circuit Trails network of multi-use trails serves. The program emerged from recommendations shared by under-resourced and under-served communities as part of the Circuit Trails 2020 Equity of Access to Trails study.

“The Circuit Trails are an important asset for the region—and it is essential that neighboring communities feel that the trails are for them,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, chair of the Circuit Trails Coalition and executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “We want everyone to feel welcome and included in these spaces. These grantees are doing powerful work in their communities and are integrating the trail network into their programs in ways that meet the needs and priorities of their neighbors and the people they serve.”

Through projects, activities and activations including tree plantings, bike riding lessons, art installations and more, the program intends to improve access to and increase use of Circuit Trails, particularly in historically disinvested communities and among marginalized groups.

Recipients were awarded one-year or two-year grants of $1,000 to $10,000 per year for their projects. The awarded projects are set to launch in April 2023 and will continue to activate the Circuit Trails through 2023 and 2024.

The 2023 Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program recipients are:

  • 9th Street Youth & Community Center – Environmental Youth Corps Program: To support tree plantings, tending and maintenance, summer habitat projects, basketball equipment, installing picnic tables and hosting mentoring/life skills workshops along the Chester Creek Trail in Chester’s Eyre Park.
  • Artworks Trenton – Artworks Trail Jam: To support Artworks Trenton and Trenton Cycling Revolution’s Community Outreach Garage to develop and host “Artworks Trail Jam,” an event bringing artists and community members together to create new art along a section of the D&R Canal Trail.
  • East Trenton Collaborative – East Trenton Tactical Urbanism: To create equitable access to the D&R Canal Trail by installing traffic calming infrastructure, creative wayfinding and public art.
  • Exploring Nature with Disability Pride PA: To produce inclusive activities along the Delaware River Trail from South Philly to Northern Liberties. Activities will include: Walk & Learns, Picnic along the Delaware Trail, Disability Arts, and Making Music with PHONK Philly.
  • Get Fresh Daily – Get Fresh Families Outside: To launch Get Fresh Families Outside, an initiative to teach campers how to ride a bike and invite families to ride with their children and enjoy the Circuit Trails, specifically Bartram’s Mile Trail and Cobbs Creek Trail. 
  • Healing Through the Land: To engage community members with workshops, walks and activities along Cobbs Creek Trail, Bartram’s Mile Trail and John Heinz Trail that aim to reconnect and elevate Black and Brown people to nature for holistic healing that inspires and builds upon community sustainability.
  • Hike+Heal: To support programming that brings a sense of community to women of color who seek feelings of safety, discovery and who desire to explore the trails of Philadelphia.
  • Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers & Outdoors Partners – Circuit Trails Fishing and Birding Training and Experiences: To create free, monthly public fishing and birding training and outings along the Delaware River Greenway at Lardner’s Point, the Delaware River at Camden-Cooper River/Park and the Schuylkill River and trail tributary areas in Norristown.  
  • Superior Arts Institute – #AdvocacyThruArt: To engage Camden youth in learning about the Circuit Trails through creating, filming and producing content that celebrates the trail and creates a heightened sense of belonging in urban green spaces.
  • Youth Development United – Chester Bike Rodeos: To engage Chester City youth and families in bike riding lessons, bicycle safety and activities that encourage them to maximize health and wellness benefits while enjoying Chester’s Delaware Riverfront Trail and the Eyre Park Levee Walk along Chester Creek.

About The Circuit Trails

Greater Philadelphia is the proud home of the Circuit Trails, a regional trail network of hundreds of miles of multi-use trails that is growing in size each year. One of America’s largest trail networks, the Circuit currently includes more than 370 miles of completed multi-use trails with a vision of including more than 800 miles of interconnected trails across a nine-county region in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by 2040. Nearly 65 nonprofit organizations, foundations and agencies are working together as part of the Circuit Trails Coalition to advance the completion of the trail network. A premiere regional amenity, the Circuit Trails connect our people to our local communities, providing endless opportunities for recreation and commuting. So whether you bike it, walk it, run it or paddle alongside it, the point is — just enjoy it. Learn more at www.circuittrails.org and connect with the Circuit Trails on FacebookTwitterInstagram and TikTok to find out what is happening #OnTheCircuit

About the Pennsylvania Environmental Council

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) protects and restores the natural and built environments through innovation, collaboration, education and advocacy. In cooperation with government, business and community leaders, we work to advance sustainability, protect our water resources, develop trails and outdoor recreational assets and guide Pennsylvania’s transition to a clean-energy economy. PEC was founded in 1970 and serves the entire state through offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, State College and Dallas, PA.


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