The Seven Principles

Principle 1.0

Local Recognition of the Trail & Its Significance

1.1 Local Access and the Trail Experience

1.2 Recognition in the Comprehensive Plan

1.3 Actions to Enhance Community Appreciation of the Trail

The community is aware of the Trail’s significance as a National Scenic Trail and recognizes that the landscapes within its jurisdiction contribute to the quality of the Trail experience.  It also recognizes the Trail as a community asset and has adopted policies to protect the Trail and its related landscapes in its Comprehensive Plan or other planning documents.

Read about Principle 1.0 on Page 17 of the Guidebook.


Northern Berks Joint Comprehensive Plan (2003) – Chapter 2: Community Development Goals and Objectives

Schuylkill County Comprehensive Plan (2006)

Schuylkill County Open Space and Greenway Plan and Map (2006)

The Great Allegheny Passage (Cumberland and Pittsburgh Trails), Allegheny Trail Alliance – group rides, events, and festivals

Principle 2.0

Trail-Related Landscapes & Key Parcels

2.1 Landscapes Contributing to the Trail Experience

2.2 Patterns of Current Ownership and Use

2.3 Identification Key Parcels

The municipality understands how the A.T. Corridor fits into the broader framework of the landscape and relates to the Trail as part of the natural world that surrounds it, which is in turn knit into the fabric of the wider community. The Trail Corridor is recognized as an integral part of the community, and municipal zoning regulations protect the community character and “sense of place,” supporting community values as conceived by residents and the local government.


County Assessment in Open Space Plan – Berks County Greenway Plan – Hawk Mountain Region Assessment

Municipal Assessment – Potentially Vulnerable Resources in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County PA

Article IV of the MPC – Official Map Language (Text)

Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County – Official Map (Image)

Principle 3.0

Zoning for Landscape & Natural Resource Protection

3.1 Applicability of Base Zoning to the Trail and Its Related Landscapes

3.2 Standards and Overlays to Protect Specific Resource Features

3.3 Regulations Addressing Narrow Sections of the Trail’s Protected Corridor

The municipality is using its zoning powers to help protect landscapes associated with the A​.T. and other greenways within its jurisdiction. Its base zoning districts reflect the inherent suitableness and limitations of such landscapes. It has adopted performance standards and overlay districts to protect specific resource features. Its zoning regulations also contain standards that control incompatible uses on lands adjacent to the Trail corridor.

Read about Principle 3.0 on Page 21 of the Guidebook.



Appalachian Trail Overlay District, Moore Township, Northampton County

Model Appalachian Trail Overlay, prepared by WRT

Appalachian Trail Overlay District, Eldred Township, ​Monroe County

Woodland Conservation District, South Middleton Township, Cumberland County

Rural Preservation District, Pine Grove Township, Schuylkill Township

Guiding Principles, TND Overlay Districts, Cranberry Township, Butler County

TND Overlay District Ordinance, Cranberry Township, Butler County

Village Historic Overlay District, South Middleton Township, Cumberland County

Environmental Protection Ordinance, Greenwich Township, Berks County

Hillside District & View Protection Overlay District, Pittsburgh, PA

Hillside and Ridgetop Regulations: a Recommendation for Asheville, NC Prepared by the Asheville Planning Department (2005)  [Note: this study includes national case studies and an analysis of existing ridgetop regulations.]

Principle 4.0

Mandates & Incentives for Conservation Design

4.1 Local Experience with Conservation Design

4.2 Current Conservation Design Standards

The municipality’s zoning and subdivision regulations contain mandates and incentives to encourage “conservation design” of residential subdivisions.  It recognizes that conservation design provides opportunities for protecting landscapes and creating interconnected greenways through the development process.

Read about Principle 4.0 on Page 23 in the Guidebook.



Conservation Subdivisions [see Zoning (Section 119-38 – Conservation subdivision design) and SALDO (Section 119-31 – Conservation Design Process), Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County

Section 232, Conservation Subdivision Overlay Zone (SCO), Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County
Note: Section 232 can be found on Page 141 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Growing Greener: Conservation by Design (1999, Island Press, paperback, ISBN: 9781559637428)
Ebook format published in February 2013.
ISBN: 9781610910811

Growing Greener Model Ordinance Version 2.0, Natural Lands Trust

Principle 5.0

Regulating Potentially High Impact Uses

5.1 Current Uses and Future Prospects

5.2 Adequacy of Current Regulations

In addition to its general regulations for controlling noise, visual, and other environmental impacts; the municipality’s zoning regulations address potentially high impact uses ​that include wind energy turbines, cell towers, major truck terminals, extractive industries, and ski areas.

Read about Principle 5.0 on Page 25 of the Guidebook.



Performance Standards, Penn Township, Perry County Zoning Ordinance (Article XIII)

Environmental Protection Standards, Tilden Township, Berks County (Section 15)

Simple Guidelines for Lighting Regulations, International Dark-Sky Association

Model Lighting Ordinance, International Dark-Sky Association

Model Ordinance for Wind Energy Facilities in Pennsylvania, (PA DEP, DCNR, and others)

Southwest Windpower Model Ordinance (Southwest Windpower – Producer of small residential wind turbines)

Principle 6.0

Working Relationships with Key Landowners

6.1 Community History of Voluntary Land Conservation

6.2 Knowledge of Key Landowners

6.3 Potential for Landowner Outreach

The municipality is prepared to work with key landowners currently or potentially interested in conservation and / or limited development plans for their properties.  It is also willing to collaborate with a qualified land trust in such efforts.

Read about Principle 6.0 on Page 27 of the Guidebook.



Conservation Options, a Landowner’s Guide, Land Trust Alliance, 2003

Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities; Mark A. Benedict, Edward T. McMahon, and The Conservation Fund, Island Press, 2006 (paperback, ISBN: 9781559635585)

Ebook format published in September 2012 (ISBN: 9781597267649)

Preserving Family Lands: Book I – Essential Tax Strategies for the Landowner, Stephen J. Small, 2009

The Conservation Easement Handbook, Elizabeth Byers and Karin Marchetti Ponte, The Land Trust Alliance and The Trust for Public Land, 2005 (ISBN: 9781932807004)

Conservancy: The Land Trust Movement in America, Richard Brewer, Dartmouth College Press, 2003

Pocono Land Trust


Principle 7.0

Municipal Capacity to Address Trail Issues

7.1 Municipal Interests and Capabilities

7.2 Access to Technical Assistance

The municipality has the capacity to address various issues associated with the Trail because of the knowledge and interests of its elected officials, staff, or volunteer commissions and committees.  It takes advantage of educational opportunities to stay up-to-date on “best practices” related to growth management, land use regulations, and resource protection.  As needed, it has access to professional expertise through its relationships with the county planning commission, consultants, and nonprofit conservation organizations.  It shares information with neighboring municipalities through which the Trail passes.

Read about Principle 7.0 on Page 29 of the Guidebook.



Bushkill Township Environmental Advisory Committee, Northampton County

Monroe County Planning Commission