A new online community resource will help residents and visitors of the Pottstown area discover outdoor recreational locations and activities.
The Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation recently launched a microsite called “Pottstown Area Outdoors.” The outdoor exploration tool is part of the foundation’s website at pottstownfoundation.org/mission-healthy-living/pottstown-area-outdoors.
John Robertson, community specialist for the foundation, said one of the motivators to create the site was the noticeable increase of outdoor enthusiasts seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some parks saw a 100 percent increase in their visitors or more,” Robertson said.
He said one of the goals is for the community to make the most of the local park system and to find ideas for outdoor spaces they can visit. Pottstown Area Outdoors features an interactive map with a variety of outdoor locations available in Chester, Montgomery and Berks counties.
“We knew there was a need to have one centralized resource that people could go to and identify recreational opportunities near them,” Robertson said.
Robertson explained that a previous resource included a comprehensive list of the parks in the area and Pottstown Area Outdoors expands on that project to create a resource people can find interactive and engaging
OUTDOOR ACTIVITY FINDER
Visitors to the site will first see the Pottstown Area Outdoors homepage with an image header of the art mural along the Schuylkill River Trail at Pottstown Riverfront Park. Once on the site, people are directed to check out the outdoor activity finder feature. A “location finder” button takes users to a page with the interactive map which features several area parks and outdoor spaces available for recreation.
The interactive map includes icons that are categorized by outdoor activities and amenities such as hiking and picnic tables. Robertson said the map includes both smaller outdoor spaces such as neighborhood playground parks, as well as regional resources such as the Schuylkill River Trail.
In addition to parks and trails, the map includes locations for tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts and more. Robertson said these are locations people in the community might not be aware of before visiting the site.
Once on the outdoor activity-finder page, users can search for outdoor spaces close to them by entering their state, city, or full address. The “select a category” menu has a searchable and alphabetical list of outdoor activities and features. For example, people can use the list to search for walking locations in the area or locations that are wheelchair accessible.
“If someone wants to try to find a place to bike, then they can select biking and it will identify all the resources that are tagged as biking locations,” Robertson said.
GENERAL OUTDOOR TIPS
If users return to the Pottstown Area Outdoors homepage, then they will see a variety of tips. The page includes tips for hikers, bikers, runners and more. Robertson said the tips are general information people may find useful when exploring parks and other outdoor spaces.
“We just wanted to make people feel welcome and comfortable if it was their first time visiting some of these parks or doing some of these activities,” he said.
A COMMUNITY SHARED PROJECT
Robertson said the Pottstown Area Outdoors site includes an initial list of recreational locations, but the foundation fully expects this list to grow. Community members are invited to send information about an outdoor place in the tri-county region not already listed. Robertson said they also want people to provide more details and images about the locations already included on the site.
“We want to get input from people in the community about what we’re missing,” he said. “This site isn’t static. It’s something that we’re going to keep developing.”
Individuals who would like to add information to the Pottstown Area Outdoors community resource can send an email to email@example.com.