The Chester County Trail Club began in the fall of 1970 as a casual "get together" among friends in the West Chester area who were interested in finding company for their Sunday afternoon walks. An ad was placed in the local newspaper asking anyone interested to meet and explore the possibility of walking together. Almost thirty fresh air enthusiasts arrived one Sunday afternoon in late September and the Chester County Trail Club was born.
The Club took its first "walk" in Tyler Arboretum on Sunday afternoon, October 4, 1970. For a while CCTC met every Sunday in the parking lot of the Daily Local News. When the club began to list its weekly events in the newspaper inviting anyone interested to join, membership quickly increased. Within a few years, the group had established a meeting schedule, a constitution and by-laws and charged an annual dues of two dollars per year. Since it was established the club has grown from 30 hikers to several hundred members and the dues have increased to fifteen dollars per year per membership.
Although hiking is the main activity of the club, the members are also concerned with environmental issues, conservation, ecology and hiking education. Members are educated about safety on the trail, proper dress and footwear, water consumption guidelines and back-packing know-how.
Trail maintenance and work hikes are included on every hike schedule. CCTC volunteers maintain a nine mile section of the Horse-Shoe Trail, a twenty-five mile section of the Brandywine Trail, a six mile section of the Mason-Dixon Trail and the entire twenty-one miles of the Mid-County Trail in Chester County.
Chester County Trail Club maintains a full schedule of hiking events. The club offers morning hikes each Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; as well as afternoon hikes on Thursday and Sunday. There is an evening hike each Wednesday in Valley Forge Park (Apr-Sept) or Wilson Farm Park (Oct-Mar). Once a month a full moon hike is scheduled along the Struble Trail. Each year CCTC also sponsors longer hiking trips that take members to many distant trails.
Club members also enjoy social gatherings such as the annual banquet that honors those who have hiked the most miles during the year.
Ongoing trail maintenance involves cutting back encroaching plant growth (multi-flora rose, blackberry, wine berry canes, and young saplings), clearing blow downs, and freshening paint blazes.
Adopt a Highway
In 1991, CCTC joined with other civic minded groups in the Adopt-a-Highway Program and "adopted" a 2.4 mile section of PA Route 322; since then, CCTC changed its Adopt-a-Highway location to the US-202 northbound exit ramp to PA Route 322-West (Downingtown). A clean-up day is scheduled each quarter and posted on the hike calendar. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.