This is an urgent explanation and appeal to anyone concerned about the environment. It concerns the Bucks County Planning Commission’s (BCPC) plans for a Neshaminy Greenway Trail (NGT) segment in Dark Hollow Park.
A three-week public comment period began Oct. 26.
The location is on the Warwick Township side (south) of the Neshaminy Creek between Routes 611 and 273 , Easton and York roads.
The BCPC wants to build the Neshaminy Greenway Trail down the length of the Neshaminy Creek, ultimately making it part of The Circuit Trail. In order to get this permitted by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the county has proposed a segment of the larger plan as a multipurpose recreational trail in the above location. The BCPC has been working with the Citizens Advisory Design Committee (CADC), a small group of environmental and parks experts and stakeholders that includes me.
Despite strong reservations from some CADC members about this plan, the BCPC has moved forward with a design for a 10-foot-wide excavated and compacted gravel trail with 2-foot shoulders.
Below are some of the concerns about the heavy impact this design will have on such an environmentally sensitive area:
- Severe disturbance to, and removal of, both mature and young native trees
- Increases in human interference with natural forest regeneration
- Impact on wildlife in what is one of the last wildlife corridors in Central Bucks
- Soil compaction: the indelible footprint that a large, heavy-equipment-built trail will have for many years to come
- Loss of preserved stream buffer, which helps to soak up storm water
- Loss of permeability of soil in an area which regularly floods
- The impact on springs, seeps and wetlands
- Increased trash, dog waste, and pollution of the water
- Larger overall project
- Future need for bridges to connect trails, which may obstruct creek flow in storms
- Constant maintenance, leading to continued disturbance of nature
- Security issues
Reasons proposed for this “un-natural” trail are paradoxically about getting people into nature and providing recreation.
Must we destroy nature in order to seek to enjoy it? This particular area already provides passive recreation in the form of walking, fishing and kayaking. There are many other recreational areas nearby with paved trails and other human amenities. Most new parks and trails are built on reclaimed land or right of ways. It seems the main reason for this planned development is for The Circuit Trail to extend along this winding creek where no rail trail or road now exists.
In other words the Neshaminy Creek buffer zone is pure natural space, which is different from open space, a catch-phrase meaning land available to develop for human use. The plan proposes to cut a wide swath through this natural land—never to be reversed. It is easier to destroy nature than to bring back what was here.
A paved “trail” has already been built along the creek in New Britain. It joins the 202 bike path and we hope that will be where the paving or compressed gravel ends. We need to keep forest trails green, narrow and, above all, natural.
To find more information, listen to the meetings, see photos and view drawings, please go to these links:
· 2022.10 Neshaminy Greenway Trail Dark Hollow Park Construction Plans
· 2022.10 Neshaminy Greenway Trail Dark Hollow Park Landscaping Plans and/or reply to this letter with questions.
We hope that those who understand this concern will write or email Richard Brahler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marie B. Carota lives in the Pebble Hill area of Doylestown.