Stories from the Banks

11/17/2015 4:13pm
site admin

The weather is cooling down, our programming season has come to a close, and we are reflecting on another wonderful year.

This Thanksgiving, we are especially grateful that the Schuylkill River Trail was named the Best Urban Trail in America. We are also thankful that Bartram's Mile North has been remediated and that its groundbreaking is imminent. After years of working with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Bartram's Garden to plan, design, and raise funds for this project, it is exciting to see this new segment of the trail and greenway take shape.

And we're grateful that the Center City, Boardwalk and Grays Ferry Crescent trail segments continue to be an important part of so many people's lives. And we are thrilled to have seen so many of you at trail events and cleanups in 2015.

We continue to be amazed by how much Schuylkill Banks grows and evolves each year. Many people were instrumental in the creation of the Banks, and many more continue to have a defining role on this transformational public space.

Thanks to all of our partners, donors, and volunteers who provide vision, advocacy, funds, and labor to consistently expand and improve Schuylkill Banks. Our thanks also goes out to everyone who creates a vibrant environment along the river by using the park and trail and joining us for movie nights, riverboat and kayak tours, and special events.

Thank you all for helping to make Schuylkill Banks everything that it is today and for sticking with us as we continue to connect the trail to Bartram's Garden and extend it to Fort Mifflin!

11/17/2015 1:00pm
site admin

Jeanne Buerkel has been supporting Schuylkill Banks since well before the trail and greenway existed. She first learned about proposals for a trail along the Schuylkill in the 1980s, and was all for it. Jeanne volunteered for riverfront cleanups while plans for the trail were still being drawn up.

She is thrilled that this dream has become a reality. “What a difference this trail has made,” says Jeanne, “It’s used for running, biking, for everything. The beauty of the space is wonderful. It has made a tremendous difference in the neighborhood.”

In addition to volunteering on the Banks with SRDC, Jeanne was the first individual giving donor when SRDC started its annual giving program in 2006 and has continued to donate each year. She feels that it is important to support this space that has transformed her neighborhood. Jeanne also connected SRDC with Franklin Institute so that the Banks could host Star Parties through the annual Philadelphia Science Festival Astronomy Night.

Thank you, Jeanne, for everything that you have done for the Banks and the neighborhood!

11/17/2015 12:17pm
site admin

Spread joy while supporting your favorite trail and greenway this holiday season!

Schuylkill Banks Gear: Customize your favorite products with great Schuylkill Banks designs; choose from apparel, pet accessories, mugs, totes and much more.You can also spread the cheer with Schuylkill Banks holiday greeting cards. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for a special person or pet in your life, there are plenty of ways to represent the Banks in style.

Softball Tees: Snag a Schuylkill Banks Softball Tee (pictured here), available in men's, women's and children's sizes. These are available for purchase in our online store ($16-$26 in a variety of styles) or in person ($10 for white raglan with navy sleeves)! Call Lucy at 215-222-6030 x100 or visit our office to purchase your shirt in-person today.

Riverboat and Kayak Tour Gift Certificates: Winter is just about here, but summer will arrive before we know it. Schuylkill Banks gift certificates make a great gift now and allow the recipient to enjoy a kayak or riverboat tour in the summer or fall. Call 215-222-6030 x100 for more information about Schuylkill Banks gift certificates.

Bench Plaques: Honor someone special, commemorate an occasion, or establish a memorial this holiday season with our Schuylkill Banks Adopt-a-Bench program. Learn more about sponsoring a bench on the greenway.

Donations: Looking for a purely philanthropic gift? Make a donation to SRDC on behalf of the giftee! Learn more about donating here. (Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS.)
Thanks for giving the gift of Schuylkill Banks!

11/16/2015 10:05am
site admin

Another successful programming season has come to a close. Many thanks to everyone who supported SRDC’s mission by coming out for special events, riverboat tours, kayak tours and movie nights on Schuylkill Banks!

Our events wouldn't be possible without the help of our wonderful volunteers. A solid team of both new and returning volunteers allowed us to offer quality programming and keep the Banks clean and beautiful all season.

In addition to volunteers, we also had two excellent part-time employees staffing the Schuyllkill Banks Center this year. Huge thanks go out to Natalie Griffith and Talia Kassie, who were on the trail every day answering trail user questions and helping our events run smoothly.  

Even though our programming season is over, there is still plenty to do on Schuylkill Banks. We look forward to seeing you out walking, running and biking on the trail and relaxing along the greenway this fall and winter!

10/19/2015 10:20am
site admin

There is still time to see beautiful fall foliage from the river on a Secrets of the Schuylkill Riverboat Tour! Discover the sights, sounds and history of the river on this one-hour narrated tour, from the early 1700s at historic Bartram's Garden, to the 1800s at the Fairmount Water Works, to iconic 20th century buildings and award-winning 21st century skyscrapers.

There are only two tour dates left this season: Saturday, October 24 at 5:30 or 7pm, and Thursday, October 29 at 5:30pm. 

To learn more about these tours and to purchase tickets, click here. Our riverboat tours often sell out, so don't delay!

10/14/2015 10:08am
site admin

Andrea DeSabato reached out to us in March with interest in volunteering on the Banks, and has since become a valuable member of the team. Andrea lives in Bala Cynwyd, but drives into the city to run and bike on the trail whenever she can. “Working in an office all week, on a computer, makes me really appreciate being outside around good people and sharing a really nice communal space,” she says. Andrea enjoys talking to people during her shift, and sharing their excitement about the trail and Schuylkill Banks events.

Andrea has been a great help during movie nights, kayak tours and cleanups. Her natural drive and positive energy inspire everyone around her to push harder. Whether carrying kayaks, trash bags or drink coolers before a movie night, Andrea is always ready to do some heavy lifting. She has stuck with us throughout the entire season, and we’re so grateful she did!

“My favorite part about volunteering is feeling like the work we do matters,” Andrea says. Indeed, the time and effort that our volunteers contribute is invaluable, and makes the Banks a much better place.

Thanks for all of your help this season, Andrea!

9/23/2015 9:24am
site admin

Riverboat Tours - See Philadelphia from a new perspective on a Schuylkill Banks Riverboat Tour! Join a fun and fact-filled Secrets of the Schuylkill tour or explore the river and shore on a Boat to Bartram's Garden. Riverboat tours run through October 29:

Secrets of the Schuylkill Tours

  • Saturday, October 10 (5:30 and 7:00 pm)
  • Thursday, October 15 (5:30 pm)
  • Saturday, October 24 (5:30 and 7:00 pm)
  • Thursday, October 29 (5:30 pm) - last Secrets tour of the season

Boat to Bartram's Garden Tours

  • Sunday, October 4 (noon and 2:00 pm)
  • Sunday, October 18 (noon and 2:00 pm) - last Bartram's tour of the season

Kayak Tours - Explore the Hidden River on a professionally guided kayak tour! Hidden River Outfitters agreed to add one more date to the schedule - October 10. So there's still time to take a 5:45 pm basic paddle to the Fairmount Water Works or an 8:00 pm romantic moonlight paddle. An instructional session and equipment rental is included with each tour. Tickets are almost sold out, so call 215-222-6030 x100 soon if you are interested in signing up.

9/21/2015 1:12pm
site admin

As the Schuylkill Banks trail and greenway runs adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the site of the papal events on Saturday, 9/26 and Sunday, 9/27, the trail will be partially closed to all users.

Trail Closure
Schuylkill Banks will remain open from South Street to Chestnut Street. The Chestnut Street Ramp will be the northernmost exit from the Banks. The trail will be closed to all users from Chestnut Street to Brewery Hill Drive (just north of Girard Avenue) beginning on Thursday, September 24 at 10pm and ending Monday, September 28. We are waiting for confirmation of approximate re-opening times, and will share more detailed information here if and when it becomes available.

A map of bicycle closures and access points is available here.

Restroom Closure
The composting restroom on the trail south of Walnut Street will be closed for maintenance on Saturday, 9/26 and Sunday, 9/27, reopening on Monday, 9/28. Restrooms will be open in Markward Playground in Schuylkill River Park and ample port-o-potties will be available in various nearby locations.

Post-Pope Clean-up
SRDC will be hosting a post-Pope-weekend cleanup to pick up litter on the trail on Tuesday, 9/29 beginning at 1pm. If you are interested in volunteering, please meet us on the trail under the Walnut Street Bridge; no RSVP required. SRDC will provide gloves and trash bags. We hope to see you there!

Trails to Explore this Weekend
This weekend is a great time to explore trails that will be unaffected by closures, including the Schuylkill Banks Grays Ferry Crescent, areas of the Schuylkill River Trail north of East Falls, and other trails in the Circuit regional trail network.

Thank you for your understanding!

9/18/2015 11:35am
site admin

The 11th Annual Philly Fun Fishing Fest, held on Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, September 12, was a blast, thanks to Philadelphia Water, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, PA Fish and Boat Commission, over 112 participants and many wonderful volunteers! Seasoned anglers and first-timers came together to catch a total of 235 fish, which were recorded and released back into the Schuylkill.

Click here to read more and see photos from the Fishing Fest. 

9/17/2015 9:59am
site admin

We have received a number of emails regarding the problem of harrassment on the Schuylkill River Trail. We certainly agree that harrassment is a huge problem that must be addressed citywide. However, SRDC is a small non-profit, not a law enforcement agency, and we have neither the authority nor the capability to apprehend the assailants.

While we would of course like to know when these incidents happen, we suggest that people first contact the police, by calling 911 at the scene of the crime and giving a detailed description (appearance, clothing, description of bikes, which way they went). A call from the victim or a direct witness as the incident is happening gives police the best chance of catching the assailant.

SRDC has contacted the 9th District and they have increased police presence on the trail. However, they stress that a 911 call ASAP is the proper response to enable apprehension. Additionally, we should all be on the lookout for problems and assist those in need as possible.

Click here to learn more about which intersections to use when relaying and describing information to 911 dispatchers or for email address you can use to reach out to the police. Thank you for doing your part to keep everyone safe on Schuylkill Banks.