On Wednesday, April 24th, Appalachian Mountain Club hosted a webinar to present its comprehensive visual assessment project of 30 Circuit Trails in PA and NJ.
A Viewshed Focus
The study, entitled “Protecting Significant Views Along The Circuit: A Visual Assessment of Land Conservation Priorities for Viewsheds Along The Circuit Trails” was presented by Cathy Poppenwimer and Mark Zakutansky of AMC. The webinar reviewed the study methodology, explained how the 30 Circuit Trails were selected for study, and briefly explained the pilot project that was completed in 2018. The webinar included three trail examples: a section of the Schuylkull River Trail from Birdsboro to Pottstown, the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (Mercer County, NJ) and the Route 202 Parkway Trail (Montgomery and Bucks Counties). Using GIS, viewshed areas were determined around each of the 30 Circuit Trails. Parcels were ranked based on the quality of visibility, scenic and key observation point (KOP) rescources. The study also factored in parcel fragmentation data and adjacency to existing open space to determine the combined parcel value scores.The study identified high-quality unprotected parcels within trail viewsheds, so that these parcels may be considered for land conservation.
Next steps for the study include plans to overlay development trend data to determine areas that face the greatest threats to Circuit Trail views, continue implementation of the study by meeting with conservation organizations in the region to discuss results, development of an interactive online map of viewshed conservation priorities, working with partners to develop a top most threatened trail views list, and expanding the study to include additional trails.
AMC staff will present this project at the Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conference on May 16th at Skytop Lodge in the Poconos.
To view a recording of The Circuit Trails Visual Assessment webinar, click here