My Circuit Trails: Michael’s Experience

Man standing on landing next to a bike with a blue helmet looking into the river

To Michael Moulton, the head of the East Falls River Landing Friends Group, trails provide a “mini retreat,” a source of refuge.

Michael is rejuvenated by the routes he rides on the Circuit Trails network and finds a particular sense of peace on the section of the Schuylkill River Trail in East Falls. It’s there that he has a direct connection point to the water via an accessible landing–a project that is the result of his efforts with the East Falls River Landing Friends Group in conjunction with the East Falls Development Corporation (EFDC).

WATCH NOW: Michael Moulton shares his personal connection to the trails on the Circuit.

In 2017, EFDC spearheaded the project to build the East Falls River Landing through a community-driven process, partnering with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and garnering financial support from the William Penn Foundation and Pennsylvania  Fish and Boat Commission. 

“City folk have been disconnected from the river for so long with the industrialization that happened over the past century, but as we’re able to build parks like this, people can get reconnected, can find a safe and easy place to get to the river, get down to the edge and experience this beauty,” Michael said.

The Landing opened in 2022, creating an ADA-accessible ramp that gives kayakers, birders, anglers and all trail users direct access to the Schuylkill River. EFDC and the Friends Group have provided programming at the Landing, including volunteer days of service in partnership with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy, a Treaty of Renewed Friendship signing with the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania as part of the Nation’s 2022 River Sojourn, and more.

The EFDC is one of six new organizations in 2024 to receive funding as part of the Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program. The Community Grant Program intends to improve access to and increase use of the Circuit Trails, particularly in historically disinvested communities and among marginalized groups. With its grant, EFDC will add seating and signage to the River Landing to create a more inviting, safer public space. EFDC will also offer opportunities on or near the Landing for people to meditate and gather.

Michael appreciates that trails provide him with a space to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, in a place that is beautiful and safe from cars. 

“Life’s really busy, but come on down, pick a park and come. It pays you back really richly. Being a way to disconnect [and] connect with nature, it’s really important for people.”

You can play a role in ensuring that more Circuit Trails get built so that more people can utilize them to do the things they love to do outside, as Michael does. Send a letter to your county commissioners to urge them to prioritize funding, developing and maintaining the Circuit Trails network. Click here to send a letter.

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