g emil reutter
The West Woodlands are located in Burhlome Park in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadlephia. The Woodlands are separated from the main park by the driveway to the Fox Chase Cancer Center. There are no signs identifying the Woodlands as part of Burholme Park and the only path maintained is a wide cinder pathway along the upper ridge of the valley that a small stream runs through, which hereafter will be referred to as Burholme Park Creek. The woodlands are under-utilized and are neglected by routine park maintenance. The east side of Burholme park with Ryerss Museum and Library, picnic areas, playground, sports field and the Burholme Golf Range are nicely maintained, however the Woodlands are another story. Buholme park was once simply known as Burholme, the summer residence of the Ryerss family and once had an active stable, greenhouses and farming.
Burholme Park Creek
The Burholme Park Creek flows along the Philadelphia/Montgomery border from the northwest side of the park to the southwest side of the park under Cottman Avenue into Montgomery County and empties into the Tookany Creek in Cheltenham Village.
There are numerous fallen trees in the creek causing damming and erosion of the creek banks. One tree and earthen dam is located about forty yards of so from the tunnel that carries the creek under Cottman Avenue that was built in 1938 as part of the WPA project. In the woods adjacent to this area are numerous plastic trash bags filling the forest floor. The creek itself is a beautiful site with numerous rock formations along its length. A cleanup of the creek by Fairmount Park and or Montgomery would seem in order to restore the full beauty of this gem of a small creek.
The West Woodlands
The Woodlands hold many treasures for one who is bold enough to navigate their way through remnants of pathways. In addition to numerous types of trees and other vegetation, there are great rock formations as one descends from the ridge of the park into the Burholme Park Creek Valley. There are numerous chipmunks, groundhogs, hawks, blue heron and various species of other birds as well as an opportunity to observe a deer or two and an occasional fox. The paths are not maintained and are often blocked by fallen trees and an abundance of poison ivy. The paths are not identified nor are there any markers to return a hiker back to the main park. There are numerous fallen trees and trees that are about to fall throughout the woodlands.
There are six locations within the Woodlands that appear to be routine party spots for underage drinking. These areas are cluttered with broken bottles, plastic, beer cases and other debris. These folks who do utilize the Woodlands fail to clean up after themselves and there seems to be little attention paid to their activity by Fairmount Park Guards, city or suburban police. A hunters lean to constructed of wood has been in place since at least 2011.
The West Woodlands of Burholme Park are a neglected treasure of the Fairmount Park System. Proper signage would draw more visitors to this small oasis in Northeast Philadelphia. A cleanup of the Burholme Park Creek would restore it to full beauty, proper maintenance of paths and a removal of broken or damaged trees would make the park more user friendly.
More photographs of The West Woodlands of Burholme Park here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/12065560@N04/sets/72157646118096500/