The summertime gives people the perfect opportunity to get outside and moving, and with Fairmount Park’s new digital guide and six new Park Hubs, Philadelphians can do just that.
Fairmount Park Conservancy, the nonprofit champion for Philadelphia parks, recently announced its new initiative that is supposed to help bring the magic of the largest park in the City of Brotherly Love alive over the course of the summer and fall months. This includes a variety of activities—all self-guided and digitally accessible to help with social distancing guidelines—as well reaping both physical and mental health benefits. This new program will also help even the most avid park-goers uncover hidden gems in East and West Fairmount Park.
“We’ve seen over the past few months just how essential parks are for our physical and mental well being,” said Maura McCarthy, Ph.D., Executive Director of Fairmount Park Conservancy in a statement. “This summer and fall, Fairmount Park Conservancy wants to highlight many of the trails, history and natural areas that Fairmount Park offers and provide new ways of experiencing this treasure.”
The new digital guide (available on Fairmount Park Conservancy’s website) highlights everything from trails to historic landmarks and natural areas. In the past few months alone, Fairmount Park has reached a record number of usage, which makes complete sense when you think of the ongoing pandemic coupled with the fact that many are beginning to feel cooped up inside. The park itself offers a safe and healthy way to social distance while being outdoors, and many are jumping on that opportunity.
The digital guide gives Philadelphians plenty of history on the grounds that were envisioned by William Penn to uphold a reputation for the city as a “green country town.” Originally Fairmount Park was bought as a way to protect the city’s water supply on top of providing the residents of Philadelphia with a place for outdoor activities, and to date, both the West and East portions of the park hold 2,050 acres jointly.
The guide goes over just what can be found in those acres for those who are setting sights on exploring. Some highlights include the Boxer’s Trail (a 3.8-mile trail with wooded and paved paths), the six Historic Houses of Fairmount, the Trolley Trail (a project that Fairmount Park Conservancy has been working with the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Belmont Plateau Trails Alliance to develop), Concourse Lake (a plant park native to the land that holds 142 native trees of 24 various species and 503 shrubs) and much more.
Fairmount Park also now has a digital scavenger hunt that can be followed as well. The new hunt launched this week and will be live until Labor Day, Sept. 7. According to a release, scavenger hunters can participate by downloading the free GooseChase app to their smartphone and completing each mission at their own pace (search for “Fairmount Park Summer Scavenger Hunt” to do so). New missions will be released each week, and the top participants will receive prizes, including gift cards to local, minority-owned businesses and Fairmount Park Conservancy merchandise. The hunt not only has the winning incentive but also is a prime way to learn all about the facts and stories behind the historic houses, natural areas and public art of the park.
There will be marked locations or Park Hubs where park-goers can start their explorations as well. These hubs include Lemon Hill Mansion, Mount Pleasant Mansion, Woodford Mansion, Concourse Lake, Centennial District and Chamounix Drive.
In addition to the solo journeys that Philadelphians can take, there will also be guided hikes, meditation and yoga available as well. These events will occur later in the summer at reduced capacity to help maintain social distancing. Events are free for Conservancy members and $15 for non-members and a schedule for all group programs can be viewed on their official calendar online. Those who are looking to become members have another incentive—Fairmount Park Conservancy members directly help ensure that Philadelphia’s parks are enhanced for generations to come and offer those free year-round events.
Philadelphians can also help keep the park beautiful by participating in Love Your Park Cleanups. According to a release, Love Your Park Solo Cleanups encourage all park users to safely clean up trash and litter individually or with members of their household as they enjoy Philly parks this summer. Volunteers can also go the extra mile by pledging to track their work online. Love Your Park Solo cleanups aim to help keep Philly parks clean this summer, and offer Philadelphians a rewarding way to give back to these important public spaces. Volunteers who have their own cleanup supplies can opt to make a donation to the Love Your Park program to cover the cost of a free cleanup kit for others. A $35 donation covers the cost of a cleanup kit, which includes trash bags, a Fairmount Park Conservancy bandana, and gloves (while supplies last). A $75 donation will cover the cost of a cleanup kit plus a $50-level membership to the Conservancy.
To find out more information on Fairmount Park Conservancy and the new digital Fairmount Park guide, visit myphillypark.org