Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stewards Of - The Schuylkill River Trail

   Stewards Of

Heaved eons since worn down , Appalachian 
Mountain's run off turbulently tumbled ,
Carving through time our green river valley .
We , stewards of the Schuylkill , are humbled .

Past arching trees pristine , clear waters flowed
Drawing the Lenape , Swede , new settlers west .
Toward headwaters brave adventures rowed
Not timid weak , only the strong , the best .

Sordid history records what man built :
A canal for commerce , beds for railroads ,
Dams and bridges , mined coal with silt .
Into the river he dumped waste loads .

Seasons change pulsating Schuylkill's rise and fall .
Vital signs show acts of thoughtless man ,
Who then found enlightenment , best be his call :
With a dream , fine players , a well drawn plan .

         MacHarg set the acorn
         In Ferdinand's thought dream
         So Victor could nurture
         The seedling to a scheme
         Drawn east from Montana
         The Swensons create the team .

         A trail to hike or bike
         Through greenways sun or rain
         By a hidden river
         With scenic in its name
         Historic corridor 
         Heritage fame its claim .

The Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area - The Mission -

         Fidelity Is Our Aim . 

             Ronald C. Downie 

Ian MacHarg -an early naturalist who advocated for lineal walking trails be
developed along the banks of water ways
Ferdinand Thun - founder/ funder of The Schuylkill River Greenway Association .
A Berks County industrialist , Berkshire Hosiery , Mr. Thun 's interest in the 
MacHarg doctrine energized many Berks Countians to join him in a trails adventure.
Victor Yarnell-  former State Legislator and former Mayor Of Reading assumed the roll of The first Executive Director of the newly formed Schuylkill River Greenway Association .   
Keith and Dixie Swenson returned back east from Montana to assume leadership
Of the association : Dixie became Executive Director , Keith , lead planer . They 
Moved the organization from Berks County to Pottstown , Montgomery County ,
the geographic midpoint of the Schuylkill River, and expanded the roll of the 
SRGA to that of one encompassing the entire length of the river from headwaters 
To where it empties into the Delaware River at Philadelphia .
Kurt Zwikl- Kurt was chosen Executive Director when the Swensons left the 
Organization to return out west . 


  1. As a frequent user of this trail you have captured its essense, Mr. Downie. Your poetry is most orginal. Every phrase triggers visual immages. You have a gift!

  2. Thank you for your positive comment. When walking the trail, have you ever wondered how many thousands of generations in the past tread a similar trail you just covered ? Our job for this generation is to preserve the integrity of both trail and river for future enjoyment of generations yet unborn.