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Boardwalk Replacement Project

Posted Dec 02, 2019
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Updates to the boardwalk project will be posted first. More details and the history of this project are listed below the updates. Expected reopening: mid-December.

December 11: Asbury Woods is pleased to announce the completion of the boardwalk renovation project to be open to the public at noon on December 11, 2019.

August 23 - A few trails adjacent to the Boardwalk are now closed. Please review the map. The outer trails are open dawn to dusk. If you need help navigating the trails or reading our map please visit the Nature Center or call (814) 835-5356, we would love to help you on your next adventure!


July 15 - The boardwalk is now closed. We have begun the initial work for the boardwalk replacement project, funded by the Preserving a Legacy Capital Campaign. We are removing dead and invasive trees that may impact the new boardwalk.

Boardwalk Replacement Project

For nearly 50 years a favorite part of the Asbury Woods experience has been the boardwalk adjacent to the Nature Center, allowing visitors of all ages access to field, forest, and wetland habitats to observe a variety of plant and wildlife species. The final spike for the first iteration of the boardwalk was driven in during August 1972, completing the original 1/3 mile discovery trail through approximately 5 acres of the property. The original boardwalk was replaced in 1992 after volunteers spent three summers rebuilding the decaying structure.

Original Boardwalk Heading West In Pinestand North Of Driveway Chestnut Grove To Right

Original boardwalk from 1972

The 1992 version of the boardwalk was removed in July, 2019 and was 1,700 feet long and 4 feet wide with minimal handrails, sharp turns and steep access ramps. It included a swamp deck that was used as part of our educational program to teach wetland lessons. Unfortunately, that deck was sinking into the ground, and due to natural succession, the swamp has been drying out and is no longer reliably a wetland habitat year-round.

Replacement of the aging boardwalk was a key project of the Preserving a Legacy Capital Campaign and thanks to the generous donors to that Campaign, the complete replacement and expansion of our boardwalk is now complete. 

Artist Rendering

Artist Rendering of finished look for the renovated boardwalk areas

The new Asbury Woods boardwalk is fully accessible to ensure individuals of all physical abilities will be able to experience the natural beauty of Asbury Woods. The width has been expanded to 8 feet to accommodate wheelchairs and to better serve large groups for teaching moments along the boardwalk. The addition of low wattage deck-style lighting will add flexibility to provide additional evening programs.

Additionally, a new section added 300 feet of boardwalk that connects to an expansive wetland science teaching pavilion over a section of year-round wetland area adjacent to the south side of the parking lot. The science teaching pavilion will provide a covered area for our award-winning STEM educational programs to take place in any weather. The new teaching pavilion will feature a curved roof to match the existing architecture of the Nature Center, a gate to allow students full access to the water to collect water samples, and electrical outlets. The location of the current swamp deck over drying wetland has been converted to an observation deck, an ideal place for a short respite, birdwatching, and relaxation.

About the Preserving a Legacy Capital Campaign

Asbury Woods’ Preserving a Legacy Capital Campaign, which began in 2015, was launched with the goal of raising $4.5 million to fund the acquisition of Asbury Woods from the Millcreek Township School District, to fund much needed capital projects, such as the replacement of the Boardwalk by the Nature Center, and to fund an endowment to help offset the annual costs of becoming the direct stewards of the Woods.  With the help of Millcreek Township, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through DCNR and DCED, the County of Erie, the Erie Community Foundation, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, widespread support from corporations, private foundations, and individuals, the Asbury Woods Partnership, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has ensured the preservation of Asbury Woods for generations to come. 

Contributions to the Preserving a Legacy Capital Campaign enabled Asbury Woods to purchase the Asbury Woods property from Millcreek Township School District in June 2016 at a total cost of $1,557,876. Additionally, projects that have been completed using the capital campaign funds have enabled Asbury Woods to make the transition to full ownership of the property and to better position Asbury Woods to continue serving our mission.

The premiere projects that the Preserving a Legacy Campaign has accomplished to date include:

  • Purchase of a truck, snow plow and salt spreader to handle snow removal
  • Purchase of a tractor for maintaining the property
  • Purchase of a phone system, hardware and computer server
  • Maintenance of the Nature Center’s geothermal system, a key part of the overall green building design
  • Overall marketing plan that included new logos for branding and new website
  • Beautiful new signage with solar lighting to ensure high visibility
  • Maintenance projects such as parking lot sealing, systems repairs, reflashing the chimney, and more
  • Exterior remodeling of the cottage portion of the Nature Center including siding, windows, trim repair and gutter work to ensure this historic portion of our property is preserved well into the future
  • Replacement and expansion of the boardwalk, a key part of the property that is enjoyed by thousands of people each year.  The new boardwalk totals 2,000 feet of accessible access to the field, forest and wetland habitats of Asbury Woods.  It also features an observation deck, large gazebo and a covered wetland teaching pavilion.
  • Revision and expansion of the curriculum-based nature and STEM experiences available to school students in Erie County.  The new curriculum offers topics in the areas of life sciences, physical science and Earth and space science, all using Asbury Woods unique property and outdoor classrooms to offer hands-on learning experiences.
  • Investment in educational technology to complement and enhance the new curriculum.  Ipads, a weather station, digital sensors, trail cameras, stream tables, and more for measuring environmental conditions, collecting and analyzing data and integrating scientific methods into our environmental based STEM education programs.

The success and completion of this campaign has positioned Asbury Woods for an even greater future. The campaign joined many diverse community members together under the unifying goal of protecting Asbury Woods now and into the future.