The Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve is an 18-acre preserve located in Ambler near the Wissahickon Creek and the Green Ribbon Trail. In the middle of the preserve, there is an 11-acre fenced in pond, surrounded by a 511-foot hard surface walking path and benches open to the public year-round. One of our more accessible preserves, visitors can connect to this trail on foot from the Green Ribbon Trail or Ambler Borough and can arrive by bicycle, car, bus, or regional rail.
We plan to build an accessible, elevated platform made of packed earth that will offer better views of the preserve and the birds making use of the reservoir. Beginning near one end of the existing crushed stone path, soil will be built up gradually to create a ramp with no more than a 5% slope. The ramp will lead to a flat, 12’ X 15’ area, or platform, that will be built up to roughly 4.5 feet higher than the surrounding ground. Both the ramp and the top of the platform will have handrails for safety and ease of use, and there will be a built-in bench along the back railing of the platform so that visitors can rest as needed. Informational signs about the birds and habitats of the preserve will also be installed on the viewing area. In order to stabilize the soil and provide resources for wildlife, native plant species will be seeded and planted along the slopes of the platform.
Currently, it's difficult to see the whole reservoir from any one spot at ground level and it can be hard to see past some of the native vegetation growing along the water (which means it’s hard to see any waterfowl!). That is particularly true for anyone using a wheelchair, and the existing platform at the preserve is not wheelchair accessible. It is important that everyone is able to enjoy the preserve and its birding opportunities, and to ensure that, this platform will be designed and installed with the guidance of accessibility experts and with input from the community. In the future, we plan to continue to improve accessibility by including a curb cut and designate parking space.
The estimated cost of the viewing platform construction is $20,000, which includes plans, grading, soil moving and installation. This Giving Tuesday, we are hoping to raise $10,000 to help cover a portion of the cost. Whether you donate $5 or $500, a donation of any amount will help make this project a reality.
The Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve is owned and maintained by Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve a 501c(3) nonprofit and subsidiary of Wissahickon Trails.
(If this is a bit confusing that is understandable, the preserve name and the non-profit that maintains it share the same name. If this were an album it would be self-titled. Eponymous, if you will.)
Your donation will go to the Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve and will directly contribute to building an accessible, elevated platform with a bench, and the creation and installation of educational signage.
Above is a preliminary sketch of the viewing platform, with Maple Avenue on the left and the reservoir on the right.