The Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) is owned, managed, maintained and developed by a number of organizations who have come together to form the Schuylkill River Trail Council. Until recently, the Schuylkill River Trail existed as short, unconnected sections of trails known by the names given to them locally. Enormous efforts have been made at local, county and state levels to connect these sections, close gaps in the trail and begin to identify and promote the trail as a single trail and regional asset. This work continues with proposals to close several remaining gaps in the trail and development of a single sign system for the trail using funds from the William Penn Foundation.
The initial vision and building of this regional trail began with the Fairmount Park Commission. The trail in Philadelphia runs past the Art Museum, Fairmount Waterworks, Lloyd Hall and Boathouse Row. The sections along Kelly Drive can get very busy. Traditionally distances to Philadelphia were taken to the Art Museum, however in recent years a bold program of trail and recreational space development took place down river. The Schuylkill River Development Corporation manages the trail from the Fairmount WaterWorks to Locust Street, a section known as Schuylkill Banks. SRDC has successfully developed this section in terms of outdoor recreation on an urban trail, and schedule seasonal boat and kayak tours on the river, festivals and outdoor movies. The plan is to extend the trail as far south as Bartram's Garden in the next few years. The Trail Council for this section of trail also includes the East Falls and Manayunk Economic Development Corporations.
Montgomery County committed itself through its Open Space Program to a program of countywide trail construction. The County built the trail from the Philadelphia City line, through Conshohocken and Norristown to Valley Forge National Historical Park. This wide paved trail quickly became known as the Valley Forge Bike Trail. The trail cuts through Valley Forge National Historical Park, managed by the National Park Service, on the east side of the river at Betzwood. Trail users can use Rt. 422's cantilevered trail to access the Valley Forge Welcome Center, the extensive recreational trail system and facilities within the Park. More recently, Montgomery County completed construction of the trail between Valley Forge and Phoenixville and sections from Pottstown to the Berks County line. Montgomery County also uses the Schuylkill River Trail to connect with other trails to create 'loop trails' along the SRT. Chester County is working to complete the section of trail from Phoenixville to Pottstown, which when completed will enable trail users to travel from Philadelphia to Reading, a distance of more than 60 miles. Details about the planned route and schedule can be found on Chester County's website.
The Schuylkill River Greenway Assn., the non-profit managing entity for the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, built sections of the trail in Berks County from the Montgomery County line to Birdsboro and Gibraltar to Reading. These sections are locally known as the “Thun Trail” and are maintained by volunteers. Recently the Greenway constructed a section in Schuylkill County, known as the John B. Bartram section, and is studying a potential route between Reading and Hamburg. The Greenway’s efforts in Berks County are supported by Berks County, Berks County Conservancy and Reading RiverPlace.