Building a boardwalk

October 26, 2023
A group of volunteers and Natural Lands staff pose in a forested setting.

Photo: Judith Trojnar

Nestled within the Stone Hill Greenway is 101 acres of forest, diabase rocks, and vernal pools known at Meng Preserve. Once the home of Eva R. Meng, the property was gifted to Valley Forge Audubon Society in 1994, and then transferred to Natural Lands in 2019. Since taking over stewardship of the property, Natural Lands staff has worked on multiple projects including trail maintenance and new signs.

Over two days in October, staff and volunteers built a boardwalk along the Wetland Trail, a .9 mile loop that winds through the north side of the property. Darin Groff, Caleb Arrowood, Jill Sabre, and Aimee Alvarenga guided a hearty group of volunteers in constructing the boardwalk through the soggiest parts of the trail. Staff and volunteers cheerfully hauled heavy lumber boards on uneven trails, placing them in muddy areas for assembly. Aided by the fair fall weather, this project was completed a full day ahead of schedule.

A group of volunteers stand in a forest.

Photo: Debbie Beer

Why does the wetland trail need a boardwalk? The strategic placement of a boardwalk in muddy spots doesn’t just keep boots dry, it also helps keep hikers on the trail. When visitors leave the trail it can damage plants and widens the trail which cuts into the surrounding habitat for wildlife.

Thanks to our expert staff and tough volunteers this boardwalk will help keep the wetlands healthy and your shoes dry.

A boardwalk trail winds through a autumn woodland.

Photo: Judith Trojnar