Officials hope to link rail trails in Lancaster County, Philadelphia

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LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are looking at possibly connecting several existing rail trails, including some in Central Pennsylvania.

The plan would include linking the Conewago Recreational Trail in Lancaster County to a series of other trails, all the way to the Schuylkill River Rail Trail in Philadelphia.

The Conewago Recreational Trail would be linked to the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail and the Chester Valley Trail.

Officials say filling in those gaps could take several years or even decades to complete, with much of the work still just a proposal. They believe once finished, it could mean good things for local businesses.

“When you get bigger systems, then more people come. So, that becomes a destination,” said Diane Kripas, Division Chief for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. “When you amass 50 miles of trails, that means people will come there over night. So, they’ll come and stay in the local bed and breakfast, and they’ll go 20 miles one way and 20 miles another way. And it becomes a big weekend for them to enjoy.”

The resulting trail would be roughly 80 miles. Chester County is currently working on a planning study on a 15 mile connection from the Low Grade Line terminus to Exton.

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