Host a Regional Trail Event
Requests are frequently made to host events on Chester County’s regional trails. The purpose of a Special Event Trail Agreement (SETA) is to explain how agreements are processed. A SETA is required when an activity has the potential to reduce or disrupt the full usage or enjoyment of the trail for others. Any organized activity, which includes or necessitates the deployment of additional county staff, emergency services personnel, or volunteers for the safe and orderly movement of people; the proper use of County resources and other public infrastructure, and involves a higher potential of risk and liability shall require a SETA.
Your event should impact other trails users as little as possible. This document provides the framework for holding an event on Chester Valley Trail, Schuylkill River Trail or Struble Trail.
A separate agreement is required to host an event at a Chester County Park.
For questions about trail events, contact:
- Chester Valley & Schuylkill River Trails - 610-469-1916
- Struble Trail - 610-942-2450
While we have tried to make this process as simple as possible, please be aware that in addition to Chester County you will need to contact township agencies, specifically for crossings of township roadways, for additional assistance and/ or permits. Contact information is listed below.
INSTRUCTIONS: To apply for a Special Event Trail Agreement, please read the instructions carefully and complete the application. Return the application pages, required documents and non-refundable $25 application fee to the appropriate regional park office listed above. It is strongly recommended to be submitted at least sixty (60) days prior to your preferred event date. Staff shall review and move to approve the application only if the quota of events for the year has not been filled.
- Types of events permitted include walking, running, jogging and biking.
- A Special Event Trail Agreement will be issued after all requirements have been met and approved, and all fees are paid or arrangements for payments are made. A planning and/or pre-event meeting may be required.
- It is the County’s goal to assist organizers in planning safe and successful events that create minimal impact on the properties and nearby residents.
- Sponsor can request extra time to prepare event locations. Early site preparations and time must be coordinated through County staff during the application process.
- No more than two events per month per trail permitted.
- A maximum of two agreements shall be issued to groups/organizers in one calendar year on a first come, first served basis.
Events Requiring a Portion of the Trail to be Closed to the Public
- Shall not exceed one event per month, or ten (10) per calendar year.
- Cannot be scheduled on holidays, holiday weekends, or June – August.
- Shall not occur before 6:00 AM or after 12:00 Noon.
- An Sponsor benefiting from the event is not eligible to conduct more than one closed event in a calendar year.
- This may be any member of the sponsoring organization authorized by the organization to apply. The Sponsor must be 18 years of age and available to work closely with County staff throughout the process.
- The application process begins with submitting of a fully-completed application. Intake of the application does not imply approval or confirmation of the request.
- All required documents must be included with the application, along with the $25 non-refundable application fee made payable to Treasurer of Chester County.
- During the initial review process, the Sponsor shall provide all requested documents. Upon approval to proceed, these items (i.e. certificate of insurance, security/damage deposit, secondary permits, etc.) must be received prior to the issuance of an Agreement. You will be notified if the event requires any additional information or permits. These items must be received no later than 10 days prior to the event. Delays in providing these items will negate final approval.
- Your event is not confirmed until all necessary pre-event fees are paid and you receive a signed copy of the SETA.
- IRS 501 C-3 tax exemption letter or proof of tax exempt status must be included with the application for all non-profit organizations.
- A non-refundable $25 application fee must accompany the application at time of submission. This includes two (2) one hour meetings with a County representative to discuss event coordination. Additional fees (below) will apply based on the scale of the event. Rates are for non-profit organizations; commercial groups pay next higher category.
- Separate checks must be submitted for the Application Fee and Agreement Fees. NO post dated checks will be accepted.
- During the initial application process, only the $25 Application Fee payment will be accepted. All other checks will be returned.
- All costs incurred by the County in conjunction with the event (i.e. staff support/supervision, equipment, supplies, etc.) shall be reimbursed in full upon receipt of a fully executed SETA from the County.
R = Resident Rate; NR = Non-Resident Rate
50 or fewer people; 90 minutes or less
R = $50; NR = $60
Small Group Assembly
20 - 100 people
R = $90; NR = $160
Moderate Group Assembly
100 - 250 people
R = $130; NR = $240
Large Group Assembly
251 - 500 people
R = $180
NR = $350
Major Group Assembly
R = $1500 ; NR = $2500
R = $600; NR = $1000
Staff Costs (if required)
Ranger or Maintenance - $60/hr
Administrative - $75/hr
Security/ Damage Deposit
30 days or more = 50%
Less than 30 days = No refunds
- Before final approval, the Sponsor may be required to provide a certificate of general liability insurance including bodily injury and property damage in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence with an aggregate of $2,000,000 naming County of Chester as an additionally insured. Insurance coverage must be maintained for the duration of the event.
- An insurance certificate naming municipalities as additionally insured must be submitted prior to the event.
- Outside vendors contracted by the Sponsor are also required to provide a certificate of liability insurance naming the County of Chester as additionally insured.
- A Chester County Regional Trail cannot be reserved for the exclusive use of one group. Access to the trail by the general public must be available at all times. Areas may be roped off or otherwise secured if the County grants this as a specified condition, but we cannot guarantee that the public will not enter the event area.
- Sponsor must comply with all County of Chester Real Estate Rules & Regulations. The County reserves the right to deny any request that does not meet guidelines or policies, or that would unduly interfere with proper trail usage.
- Events will not negatively impact the trail’s cultural and natural resources. Environmental reviews may be required for some events. No person shall willfully injure or destroy any cultural or natural resource. No vehicles are allowed on lawns or closed areas.
- The County, as deemed necessary, may impose special rules, regulations and restrictions.
- Possession of, or being under the influence of, any illegal drug, alcoholic beverage or controlled substance is prohibited.
- Events that are deemed too disruptive to the use and enjoyment of the trail will be denied, or may require the proposed event to be modified.
- Sponsor agrees to ensure that all event participants are made aware of all trail rules and event guidelines, and that minors are provided with sufficient adult supervision.
- To minimize impact on other trail users, events must have a staggered start releasing participants in small groups.
- Bike helmets are required for participants 12 and under and strongly encouraged for all participants.
- After review of the application, a sketch of the site layout for the event may be requested.
- Some events may require more than one day for set up or the plan may be too complex to describe on the application form. In these cases, a detailed plan, a timeline listing various times and locations where impact to public property may occur, and dismantling schedule must be submitted. Additional fees may apply.
- Any request for County personnel support (e.g. labor, equipment, etc.) must be submitted in a detailed written request as part of the application and approved as part of the SETA, hourly rates for additional County staff applies.
- The County must approve all uses of existing and/or temporary lighting. Depending on the level and complexity, an illuminating engineer or certified electrician may be required to certify that installation and mountings are safe and secure. Temporary lighting shall be directed away from abutting streets and properties.
- If limited use of motorized vehicles are needed and approved for set up/breakdown, vehicles must be operated in a manner that is safe and considerate of trail users. This includes yielding to them and observing a maximum speed limit of 15 mph.
Signage/ Promotion/ Advertising/ Marketing
- If a temporary trail closure is required, the Sponsor shall comply with the County’s requirements to publicize any trail restrictions at locations determined by the County at least two weeks prior to the event.
- All signs must be must be at least 5 feet from the trail and cannot impose any obstruction or danger to trail users.
- No permanent paint or material may be used to mark the trail or any trail property. All signs must be temporary and removed the day of the event.
- The County must issue formal approval of the event in the form of a fully executed SETA prior to the start of any promotion or advertisement of the event. Premature advertising of a special event can be grounds for non-approval or cancellation.
- Sponsor is required to post notice of events a minimum of 10 days in advance to inform trail users of any potential inconvenience that may occur to them as a result of the event. Flyer design and location for postings shall be approved and directed by the Regional Superintendent or designee.
- Chester County will not advertise or promote events in its publications or on the County website.
- Parking shall be limited to designated areas and partially determined by event size and start and end points. Sponsor must meet with Regional Superintendent or designee to generate a plan for vehicles intended to be parked at the event site. In some situations, when sufficient parking is not available, a transport/shuttle plan may be required. If offsite parking is required, Sponsor is responsible for coordinating efforts with outside agencies. Available parking on Chester County Real Estate will be a limiting factor regarding size and registration capacity of the event.
- Consider hosting your event registration at a location other than a major trail access area. All tables and booths must be at least 20 feet from the edge of the trail.
- Sponsor may be required to provide adequate volunteers (with safety vests) for the purpose of directing patron parking. In case of younger participants assisting, individuals ages 14 and under are not permitted to be positioned within 35 feet of a roadway or heavily traveled section of the parking facility.
- For large scale events, Sponsor is required to include mitigation plans for negative consequences imposed on others by the event. Notices to media outlets and residents to be affected by the event must reflect the date(s), day(s), time(s), location(s) and type(s) of activity taking place, and provide detour or alternate route information if access is affected. A draft sample of the stated method of distribution and proposed list of recipients must be attached to the application.
Authorized Parking Areas
Chester Valley Trail
- Trailhead at 140 Church Farm Lane, Exton
- Trailhead at Warner Road in Lower Marion Township, Montgomery County (managed by Montgomery County Division of Parks, Trails & Historic Sites)
Schuylkill River Trail
- Cromby Trailhead at 829 Township Line Road, Phoenixville
- Trailhead at Norwood Road, Downingtown
- Sponsor may be required to provide one portable toilet for every 200 people anticipated, or may be required to pay for additional cleaning. This figure is based upon the maximum anticipated event participants. The Regional Superintendent or designee must authorize placement locations for portable toilets. At least one (1) portable toilet must be handicap accessible.
- Recyclables generated at the event shall be collected and appropriately disposed.
- Sponsor is responsible for all trash, litter, debris, etc. associated with the event. Sponsor must make arrangements with County staff to supply an adequate number of trash receptacles, and to have trash and other materials removed from the area periodically during the event and immediately upon its conclusion.
- Sponsor shall be responsible for leaving the trail in an “as good or better condition” than was found prior to the start of the event. Portable restrooms and/or dumpsters must be removed within 3 days of the event. Failure to perform adequate clean up and/or should damage occur to County property, the Sponsor will be billed at full cost recovery rates plus overhead for cleanup and repairs.
- The selling or offering for sale any goods, services, liquids or edibles for human consumption is prohibited without the proper approvals.
- The Chester County Health Department provides food service guidelines. These allow the Sponsor to plan food handling, preparation and distribution in the most responsible and appropriate manner. Sponsor shall be required to comply with all Health Department guidelines. Chester County Health Department can be reached at 610-344-6225.
- The Health Department may require permits if food or beverages are to be sold or given away during the event. Sponsor must obtain all required permits and to have them available on site during the event.
- Glass containers are prohibited.
- All grease and oils from cooking will be removed from site. No illegal dumping of grease or oils on County property, in trash cans, or dumpsters is allowed.
- No food, liquid, ice, or any other substance may be dumped on County grounds.
- Contracted vendors shall be required to provide proof of insurance naming the County of Chester.
- Sponsor must ensure that all activities comply with local laws applicable to noise abatement.
- If music and/or announcements will be broadcast, Sponsor must submit a layout map prior to the event with all site location(s) for all amplified sound systems. The volume level should not be audible from a distance of more than 100 feet. If a County official determines noise levels exceeds allowable levels or stimulates the crowd, the event organizers may be required to stop and/or lessen the noise level. Allowable levels are determined by Township ordinances and Chester County guidelines.
- Banners, signs and similar displays are regulated by rules and regulations. County staff must authorize the number and location of these items, which must be removed at the completion of the event. Exterior signs and banners on public roadways may be subject to municipal sign ordinances.
- The County does not provide electricity unless otherwise approved by Regional Superintendent.
- Sponsor must meet with Regional Superintendent or designee to plan for a safe and secure environment for the event. A plan for crowd control and security may be required as part of the application.
- The County may require additional rangers to be on-duty throughout the event, in which additional fees apply.
- Sponsor may be required to submit a layout map detailing emergency response routes, the event course, parking, fencing, food service, concessions, portable restrooms, dumpsters, and any other equipment or structures used during the event.
- Sponsor is responsible for the overnight security of the equipment and event structures.
- If event staffing or security is present at an event site overnight, an overnight security plan will be required detailing personnel, contact phone numbers, and other pertinent information.
- Sponsor shall provide first-aid station(s) and capable assistance to handle injuries during event. Sponsor shall notify the ranger on duty of all injuries.
- Participants shall abide by Safety Requirements for Trail Events.
- A person representing the sponsoring organization must be immediately available, on site the day of the event, with authority over all elements of the event. This person will usually be the event Sponsor or other authorized person, and provide the County with a cellular phone number or designate some other way to contact them during the event.
- County staff may make periodic checks to ensure proper utilization of the trail and surrounding areas.
- Sponsor shall comply immediately with all directions or requests made by County staff acting in their official capacity. Prior to the event, organizers will receive contact information for staff assigned.
- Any and all County staff acting in their official capacity shall be admitted free to the event without question.
- The designated event contact person must have with him/her a copy of the signed Agreement during the specified event, which must be produced upon request of authorized County staff.
- When planning a moving route on or beyond County real estate, the Sponsor is required to submit a plan identifying all road crossings, travel routes and closures. The following must be considered in planning the route:
- - Impedance of emergency (fire, police or paramedic) vehicles
- - Conflict with public transportation
- - Safety of participants
- - Interference with both motorized and/or pedestrian traffic patterns
- - Inconvenience to other park users
- - The route with the least impact must be offered as one alternate
- - No permanent markings allowed
- Sponsor will be required to obtain all traffic safety equipment required. Depending on the event, this may require barricades, traffic cones, signs, etc. Volunteers along the route will be required to wear the current standard visibility vests.
- Many townships require approval for events that impact their jurisdiction. If required, Sponsor must provide proof of approval from these townships. If event crosses roads, Sponsor must coordinate with local municipalities responsible for those intersections. See contact information below.
- Leaving gates open for ease of access may be permitted. They must be closed and locked promptly after the intended use.
- County staff and/or emergency services may be required to be on site throughout the event.