On August 4, Tropical Storm Isaias moved through the Wissahickon Valley—affecting our homes, roads, and businesses. We felt its impacts deeply at Wissahickon Trails. We experienced damaging floods at the Four Mills Barn (our offices), Evans-Mumbower Mill, and along the length of the Green Ribbon Trail. We are still learning the full extent of the damage and its cost, but as many of our friends and supporters have expressed concern about the flooding and offered their support, we wanted to provide you with an update.
We are still learning the full financial impact of the flooding on the Green Ribbon Trail and Four Mills Barn. But we can conservatively say it will be in excess of $30,000.
At the barn, we have contracted with a cleaning and remediation service that has removed about 18 inches of damaged drywall and insulation from the entire ground floor, treated mold and mildew, and generally made the space safe, healthy, and inhabitable again.
For the Green Ribbon Trail, we hope to salvage and repair what we can. But we may need to build new boardwalks and footbridges to ensure they are structurally sound. A total of 5 stepping stones (worth about $10,000) have been uprooted.
If you are able, please donate today to help us recover from the flood.
We are so grateful for all of the support and offers of volunteer service in the aftermath of the storm as we cannot clean and repair the Green Ribbon Trail alone. We are planning a socially distanced Creek Cleanup in September, please join us in cleaning the trails and creek. In the meantime, we are working in small groups with our Conservation Crew on trail repairs and to rebuild boardwalks and other structures.
[8/28/20] With the exception of two stepping stone crossings (Rubenstein & Lafayette), the Green Ribbon Trail is fully reopened. Please be aware that some bridges or boardwalks may still be out of place, but all sections are now open and safe for trail users to enjoy.
[8/20/20] The Green Ribbon Trail sustained damage from Tropical Storm Isaias, necessitating the closing of many sections due to safety concerns and impassable obstacles. The sections which remain open include:
Trailhead in Upper Gwynedd Township at Parkside Place to North Wales Road
Walk-in access point near Upper Gwynedd Wastewater Treatment Plant (off of Township Line Road) to the Runner's Crossing
Plymouth Road entrance to Penllyn Blue Bell Pike
Old Penllyn Pike to Mt. Pleasant Ave
Butler Pike to the bridges at Four Mills Nature Reserve
We want to keep as much of the trail open as possible, but please be aware that these areas took a hit, too, and some bridges and boardwalks may be out of place, there may be a small number of downed trees and debris to step over, as well as some slippery, muddier-than-usual spots. We believe these sections are safe, but trail users should use extra caution until we can fully restore them. Staff and volunteers will be working hard over the next few weeks and beyond to get the rest of the trail repaired and open.
[8/4/20] Flash flooding conditions in the Wissahickon Creek have caused considerable damage along the Green Ribbon Trail and we have closed it for the safety of our community. Stay tuned for more updates.
On Tuesday, 8/4/20 we saw severe flooding across the Wissahickon watershed. While Tropical Storm Isaias affected our homes, roads, and businesses, this was just a symptom of a problem we face every day – stormwater. Development and suburban sprawl are not new to our region, but each time more and more impervious surfaces like parking lots and buildings are added to our landscape, water has fewer and fewer places to go when it rains.
Wissahickon Trails has been working with community partners for over 63 years to protect the creek and its tributaries, preserve land to slow the flow of stormwater, and work together with municipalities and homeowners to find new solutions. This week, we saw how critical this work is for the health and safety of our community as we face the realities of climate change in our region. We need your help to keep going. Whether you volunteer, implement stormwater solutions on your property, donate, or ask your municipality to fund stormwater management--every action makes a difference.
Learn more about our Water Initiatives.
”The driveway was just a waterfall,” said Executive Director Gail Farmer, after she and others went to assess the damage from water that rushed into the first floor, which is concrete. ”Everything is covered in mud. Furniture. File cabinets — anything that touched the floor has water damage and smells like the nastiest part of a pond.”
“The Wissahickon watershed is 64 square miles. And all the 64 square miles flow into various tributaries, then into the Wissahickon, then into the Schuylkill,” Gail Farmer said. “As with any storm, the magnitude increases as you go downstream. You have all the water upstream building momentum and volume and power as it makes its way down slopes and through the watershed into the Schuylkill, then the Delaware and eventually the ocean.”
Philadelphia got hit hardest, she said, “because it got all the rainwater from the drainage area above them.”
"More than one week after Tropical Storm Isaias came through Montgomery County, Wissahickon Trails is still picking up the pieces.
“We didn’t in our wildest dreams imagine that within hours of the rains starting with Tropical Storm Isaias that we’d have a flooding situation on our hands,” said Executive Director Gail Farmer.
The barn at Four Mills Nature Reserve, the Green Ribbon Trail and the The Evans-Mumbower Mill sustained the most damage. Farmer estimated repairs would cost at least $30,000 for the barn and the trail."