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    Exploring Lancaster’s Outdoor Gems

    When it comes to the unique features of Lancaster County, our community’s waste management system probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. And yet, how we manage our trash in Lancaster County garners national attention and accolades, both in how we manage the material AND the positive impact of these efforts on the local community.


    For example, did you know that on average only 4% of Lancaster County’s municipal solid waste goes to a landfill? Or that the equivalent of 1 in 5 area homes and businesses are powered by trash?


    This is what the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) strives for every day: to protect you and the environment, while transforming waste into a resource that improves the livability of our community. How is this possible? Well, LCSWMA takes a different perspective on the value of waste.


    Yes, its value. Not only does LCSWMA transform waste into useful resources, like renewable energy (i.e., combusting the waste to make electricity), but the organization also leverages the assets they own to do this work.


    One visible example is their involvement in open space projects. LCSWMA owns over 1,000 acres of land—most of which hosts or is adjacent to its operating facilities. And LCSWMA views these properties as offering an opportunity to improve the livability of the Lancaster community, some of which are highlighted in the following article.


    This philosophy is about seeing the “hidden gem” in unexpected places. And the following article shares some more of Lancaster’s hidden gems.  We hope this adds another layer of appreciation to this wonderful place many of us call home.



    The Northwest
    Lancaster County River Trail


    In collaboration with other community partners, LCSWMA helped to construct and fund the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, a multi-use, public recreation trail that is approximately 14 miles long and follows the route of the historic Pennsylvania Mainline Canal. Because some of the original towpath remains along the corridor, the trail allows visitors to interpret the industrial archaeological remains like abandoned canal locks, iron furnaces at Chickies Rock, and the old quarry operation at Billmeyer. The trail also connects the historic river towns and villages of Columbia, Marietta, Bainbridge, and Falmouth, and is ideal for biking, walking, or running. Find directions and access points for the trail at


    The Farmingdale Trail

    Owned by LCSWMA , the Farmingdale Trail is a multi-use trail system perfect for walking, running, dog walking, and exploring. Opened in 2009, this trail has become a local favorite for its ease of access and natural beauty. One of the trails winds through wetlands, which functions as a natural water storage system that provides a home for diverse wildlife and vegetation. Another trail runs along the Little Conestoga Creek through the woods. There is also a grassland trail and dog park for your furry friends to enjoy. Farmingdale Trail also connects to the Little Conestoga Trail at the Crossings.


    Beau’s Dream Dog Park at Buchanan Park


    Beau’s Dog Park was completely revamped in August 2013, after local resident Angela and her dog Beau won the 2012 Beneful Dream Dog Park content, which brought a $500,000 dog park makeover to the Buchanan Park Dog Park. Features of the dog park include a small and large dog area, both with splash pads, a doxi tunnel on the small dog side, and a tennis ball tree that launches tennis balls on the large dog side. The Park is free to enter from sunrise to sunset.


    Lancaster County Central Park


    The largest park in the county, Lancaster County Central Park spans 544 acres on the southern edge of Lancaster City. Whatever your favorite outdoor activity may be, you can find and enjoy them in Central Park—including a county swimming pool, a skate park, six pavilions, garden rental plots, hiking/biking/horseback riding trails, camping sites, an Environmental Center, Shuts Environmental Library, and the Garden of Five Senses.


    About the Garden: As implied by its name, the Garden of Five Senses is designed to stimulate all your senses. From the bursting color in the spring and summer blooms to the mystery scents along the garden’s path to the rippling sounds of water, meandering in the garden is sure to delight you. Signs along the walkway explain how our senses work and are also written in Braille.


    Keys for the City


    Keys For The City is an initiative developed by Music For Everyone’s founder John Gerdy
    and MFE board members as a way to bring the community together through music. An art project designed to interrupt the noise of everyday life and grab people’s attention, music is sporadically and spontaneously played on these beautifully painted street pianos. In partnership with LCSWMA, local businesses, local artists, and musicians—the pianos are gutted, pieced together, and “upcycled” to give them new life. Find the 2021 LCSWMA piano in Musser Park behind the Lancaster Museum of Art.


    Lancaster City Public Art


    Lancaster City public art incorporates public art into Lancaster City infrastructure and public works, civic spaces, and other land development projects in order to enrich and beautify our city.


    What exactly is public art? According to the Association of Public Art, it expresses community values, enhances the environment, transforms a landscape, heightens awareness, or questions assumptions. Placed in public sites, this art is there for everyone, a form of collective community expression. Public art is a reflection of how we see the world—the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are.


    Lancaster City Public Art projects create pathways for meaningful conversation, evoke emotions, tell the story of our culture and our identities, create a sense of belonging, and attract interest and enhance pride in Lancaster City. All of these things lead to stronger neighborhoods and increased quality of life. Travel around the city to find some of your favorites or go to