Wissahickon Trails Weathers a Changing Climate

Jamie Stewarti

Help Us Tackle the Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

Make a Donation

On September 1, 2021 the remnants of Hurricane Ida moved through our region, leaving a trail of damage in its wake that is becoming all too familiar. In the two days since the Wissahickon Creek dramatically jumped its banks (with a stream height of 17.74ft!) we have seen the impacts of the storm at the Four Mills Barn and, most dramatically, along the Green Ribbon Trail. The Barn experienced several inches of flooding on the first floor, which required professional cleaning and sanitizing services and there is some HVAC damage.

Jamie Stewarti
The entrance to the Green Ribbon Trail, under water, as it continued to make its way to the first floor of the Four Mills Barn.

The Green Ribbon Trail was under water and there are downed branches, trees, and debris along the way. Much of our trail infrastructure has been damaged.  Most significantly is our foot bridge over the Wissahickon near Butler Pike (we call it the Rotary Bridge), which sustained considerable damage. Consider making a donation to help us through this period of restoration.  

Jamie Stewarti
Flooding and debris damaged the Rotary Bridge.

But it’s not all bad news. Last August, Tropical Storm Isaias blew through the area, causing significant damage to the Four Mills Barn and the Green Ribbon Trail. That storm proved to be a watershed moment for our organization. It crystallized our need for climate resiliency both in our structures—such as the Four Mills Barn—and our trail management program. Consequently, when Ida came to town, we had new storm readiness policies in place for protecting the Four Mills Barn. And these precautionary measures certainly helped decrease the damage delivered by Ida, especially when compared with what Isaias brought to our doorstep just last year.

The game has changed since our founding in 1957. With increased impervious surfaces ramping up stormwater runoff and a hotter, wetter climate, we need to be ready to meet these more frequent and higher intensity storms. We are working with municipal leaders and residents to address stormwater runoff in the watershed—learn more about our Water Initiatives. On our trails and preserves we have focused on improving habitat resilience

for many years, but with the increasing incidents of extreme weather, there is still more that can be done across our 12 preserves. At the Four Mills Barn, we have plans in the works to make significant changes to our public program areas and office spaces, so that the next time a serious storm comes through we’ll be even more prepared. Check out our plans to renovate the Four Mills Barn. 

Gail Farmeri
Boardwalk displaced and damaged along the Green Ribbon Trail

We can do this, but we can’t do it without you. Your donations help us with immediate clean up and repairs from Hurricane Ida and prepare for future storms. Let’s work together to minimize the damage to our beloved Wissahickon Creek, surrounding trails, and the historic Four Mills Barn.   


Donate Today.


For updates, follow us on FacebookTwitter, & Instagram. Or, visit our Green Ribbon Trail page.  

Jamie Stewarti
Displaced stone after the floodwaters receded from Four Mills Barn.