AMC Presents Circuit Trails Visual Assessment Pilot Project

On Friday, September 22, 2017 members of the Appalachian Mountain Club staff presented the results of its Circuit Trails Visual Assessment Pilot Project to project stakeholders.

The presentation was hosted by the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area (SRHA) at its offices in Pottstown. The pilot project focused on the 8.8 mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail between Pottstown and Birdsboro. The aim of the Circuit Trails Visual Assessment project is to identify potential conservation opportunities within the trail’s viewshed, and develop a conservation assessment that scores and ranks priority lands.

Methodology Overview

Using LIDAR data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), parcels in the viewshed study area are ranked according to visual magnitude, scenic character, topography, land cover, water features, historic and cultural features, key observation points, and adjacency to the trail. These individual rank scores are combined to create a composite score (see map below). The results of this analysis will be used to provide organizations and partners with a conservation and visual assessment report to assist with local conservation efforts.

Presentation to Multiple Agencies and Counties

Project stakeholders in attendance at Friday’s presentation included representatives from the Chester County Planning Commission, Delaware County Planning Department, SRHA, DVRPC, Brandywine Conservancy, Friends of Chester Valley Trail, and the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee. Stakeholders provided valuable feedback on the project methodology and mapping. After the study’s methodology is finalized, the Visual Assessment project will examine over 30 trails in PA and NJ over the next 12 months. PHTN segments also make up part of the study, including the Schuylkill River Trail and the Perkiomen Trail. Project results will be provided to stakeholders in the fall of 2018.  

Pilot Project Map