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Friends of the Manayunk Canal Welcomes You

Friends of the Manayunk CanalFriends of the Manayunk Canal is dedicated to the protection, restoration and preservation of the natural and historical resources of Venice Island, the Manayunk Canal and Fairmount Park's Towpath in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is our goal to promote and maintain our cultural resources through public education programs, community volunteerism and advocacy. We are committed to citizenry actions that respect and support the fundamental balance between cultural history, the natural environment and humanity.

New Leadership

Greetings Canal admirers! 

My name is Ronnie Ludwig, the new President of the Friends of the Manayunk Canal. 

I have lived in Manayunk since 2015 and have a great admiration for the Manayunk Canal and Towpath. I am a landscape designer and recognize the importance of the Canal to the community and visitors alike. 

Look out in the near future for updates to the website including events and ways to get involved!


Ronnie Ludwig 


2019 and Beyond!

Coming soon....


Art of Recycling Rain Design Contest Winners Announced!


Friends of the Manayunk Canal & the Schuylkill Project, thanks to funding from WREN, want to thank all of our Art on a Rain Barrel contest participants for blending art and conservation to creat some amazing rain barrel designs.   Our two winning artists, Jared Lowman and Jahne Bath Ives, designs are highlighted above. 


Friends of the Manayunk Canal, with many thanks to Emily Fuller, a University of Pennsylvania graduate, is thrilled to announce a self-guided walking tour brochure.  This brochure highlights the ecology and rich history of the Towpath and the Manayunk Canal.  We hope that you will take advantage of this brochure and take a hike!  

Towpath Walking Tour Brochure (pdf) 


Manayunk Canal Restoration Initiative
Click on the above link for more information on exciting new efforts to raise money to restore both the upper and lower locks to working condition and make the canal a National Historic Site.  When restored, the Manayunk Canal would be the only intact, functioning lock system remaining in the entire U.S.!

The Cynwyd Trail
The Cynwyd Trail is a proposed two-mile recreational, multi-use paved trail running from Cynwyd Station to the Manayunk viaduct along the unused portion of the SEPTA’s R-6 tracks.  See this map for more on the scope of this project.

Ivy Ridge Trail
Ivy Ridge is Manayunk's new trail project, running from the train station of the same name to the Manayunk Bridge, where it will cross and merge with the Cynwyd Trail in Lower Merion. Help us turn this abandoned rail line into something beautiful!  See this map for more on the scope of this project.

Manayunk Canal Stabilization Project
Fairmount Park’s implementation crew, a division of the City’s Capital Programs Office, has two future projects in mind for the Towpath. The first is an embankment restabilization/restoration project, which hopes to replant the banks of the Towpath to stabilize its sediments. The second is a project to work on hydrologic plans for the canal to bring more of the river’s flow through the canal so that there is enough oxygen to support an aquatic habitat in the canal.

Lower Venice Island: PWD Storage Tank & Venice Island Recreation Center
Philadelphia Water Department plans to construct an underground retention basin on Venice Island to address their federal mandate to control combined sewer overflows. While the basin is intended to address the growing problem of stormwater runoff in the Roxborough/ Manayunk area as well as capture the last untreated sewage overflows draining into the Schuylkill River during storm events, a tremendous amount of public input and participation will be needed to insure that this project is designed and carried out in such a way to create as minimal an adverse impact as possible.

Percent for Art: Venice Island Project
The Venice Island project is located between the Manayunk Canal and the Schuylkill River, between the Lock and Cotton Street bridges in the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia.  The site will accommodate the PWD’s Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) underground tank and Head House. In addition, PWD, in concert with the community, has developed a plan that results in a full-scale reconstruction of the site’s parking and recreational facilities, and includes athletic courts, a children’s water garden, a performing arts center, and new parking within the context of the site’s natural systems and industrial past. Please click here to view a site map of the proposed project.  Also to view samples of art work of selected sculptor, Masayuki Nagase, click here.

The Schuylkill Project
The Schuylkill Project is a collaboration of the East Falls and Manayunk Development Corporations, along with the Delaware Estuary, the Schuylkill River Greenway, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, the Philadelphia Water Department, Lower Merion Planning Commission, Fairmount Park and Friends of the Manayunk Canal. Its goal is to not only revitalize the waterfronts, but to better connect the communities to the river by bringing people to the waterfront and providing opportunities for recreation and education. The river is important not only for the quality of life of our neighborhoods but also for its economic impact on commercial districts.  The neighborhoods of East Falls and Manayunk hope to realize the now hidden potential of the Schuylkill River. FMC has been coordinating with The Schuylkill Project and Fairmount Park to create a targeted invasive species management plan along a stretch of the Towpath.

Waterways Restoration 
Addressing routine maintenance issues, such as the removal of trash along and in the canal as well as invasive species management.The PWD Waterways Restoration Team help drain and clean large debris that collects at the Locks, while volunteers help pick up debris on the canal’s edges. The PWD Waterways Restoration Team is comprised of members of both the Philadelphia Water Department and the Fairmount Park Commission, who are working to protect the drinking water supply by keeping garbage out of our streams and by restoring stream areas contaminated by damaged sewer infrastructure.To report trash or failing infrastructure, click here to contact them.

Locally, the Manayunk Development Corporation, in cooperation with local business leadership along Main Street, conducts periodic trash removals along the canal and in the canal at Lock Street. FMC's clean up efforts focus on areas not typically attended to by Manayunk Development Corporation. 


Don’t let decisions like these be made without your input! Choices about how your neighborhood is developed and maintained affect not only your property value, but your quality of life. Take this opportunity to get proactively involved in shaping and defining how your community develops!

  • Venice Lofts, developed by Dranoff Properties, located between Leverington Avenue and Fountain Street on Venice Island.

Venice Island and all of the above built or proposed projects are located in the floodplain and near or partially within the floodway of the Schuylkill River. 

Venice Island, Venice Lofts Construction Flooding, Manayunk PA, June 28, 2006
Flooding at the Venice Island Loft construction site, 6/28/06.

Click for more flood event pictures.

 Check out our website, sign up for our mailing list,
e-mail us an idea, or participate in upcoming events,

Turtles along the Manayunk Canal towpath!
Turtles along the Manayunk Canal Towpath!