Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 64.57
Liaison Sherri Mason
Submission Date June 14, 2023

STARS v2.2

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Sherri Mason
Director of Sustainability
School of Science
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Wintergreen Gorge Sustainability Restoration

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:
Immediately adjacent to (and owned by) the Penn State Behrend campus is the Wintergreen Gorge. The Wintergreen Gorge is a six-mile long canyon in Harborcreek Township, which reaches depths of 250-feet at its highest point. It was carved from shale and sandstone by Fourmile Creek during the end of the last Ice Age more than 11,000 years ago. The gorge includes a partially mature forest community of county and state significance, in which there are two rare habitats that harbor plant species of special concern.

Many miles of user-created trails have been developed over time by visitors to the Gorge. As these existing trails are based on desire lines, and do not typically take into account environmental issues or sustainable trail practices, a restoration effort, beginning with the development of the Wintergreen Gorge Sustainability Master Plan, was initiated in 2010. In September 2020, the first phase of this master plan was completed. The first phase created a parking lot and ADA accessible trail from Cooper Road to under the Bayfront Connector.

In April 2023, phase 2 of the restoration, which will extend the ADA accessible trail from the Bayfront Connector up to Trout Run, commenced. Campus funding is providing a match for funding from the PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources to support this $550,000 project.

We have already seen positive measurable outcomes from Phase 1 and look forward to this continued progress. The parking lot allows for greater SAFE access to this local hiking area, as do the ADA accessible trails. The sustainable trails and installed rain gardens and bamboo boardwalk, help to preserve the space, while decreasing erosion and pollutants (namely salt from roadways) into 4 mile creek.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
https://www.yourerie.com/community/wintergreen-gorge-named-one-of-five-2022-great-places-in-pa/?ipid=promo-link-block1

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