Who Got $1.5 Million for Trail Building in Pennsylvania?

The East Coast Greenway is an ambitious proposed trail stretching from Florida to Maine, linking 25 of the most densely populated cities in the country including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., going past Miami all the way to Key West. It’s intended to offer hikers, cyclists, and other travelers a clearly delineated transportation corridor that provides a low-impact way to explore the Eastern Seaboard.

Because it’s being built piecemeal, it will take decades to complete. It was great news to hear this month that the William Penn Foundation gave a $1.5 million grant to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) to finish developing a critical 750-mile link to the greenway that runs through Bucks, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties known as the Circuit. Only 300 miles of the Circuit is now open for use, with more than 400 still awaiting construction. The Pennsylvania Environmental Council has been working on the greenway for more than 10 years. This grant, which runs through June 30, 2017, will enable the PEC to link The Circuit to the trail development in the northeastern part of the state.

"The William Penn Foundation's commitment to completion of the Circuit is doubly significant because of the trail work itself and the importance that this network has to the Philadelphia region," said Pennsylvania Environmental Council Executive Vice President Patrick Starr. "The foundation's most recent grant continues its commitment to ensuring alternative transportation for Philadelphians."

PEC’s goal is to connect Pennsylvanians to the outdoors so that they have a first-hand appreciation of their state’s natural resources and see the value in environmental stewardship and advocacy. Finishing construction of the Circuit is a concrete way to open the outdoors so that locals can better experience their state’s diverse outdoor resources.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the commonwealth’s leading environmental organization, was founded in 1970. Since then, it's had a hand in the passage of almost every major piece of clean air, clean water, land use and conservation legislation. It continues its work in trail and green space development, green energy and climate change programs, water quality, and watershed protection while being in the thick of work involving the development of Marcellus Shale.

The William Penn Foundation was founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas in response to the social problems that arose after World War II. It is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the greater Philadelphia area through a diverse array of grantmaking activities that includes increasing educational opportunities to children from low-income families and promoting a sustainable environment. Since it began, it has awarded nearly 10,000 grants totaling over $1.6 billion.