Valley Forge Park sees big uptick in crowds since reopening

VALLEY FORGE (KYW Newsradio) — Valley Forge National Historic Park is seeing near-record public use since reopening a few months ago after a period of shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pat Madden, Valley Forge’s acting superintendent, said the 3,500-acre federal park generally attracts more than 2 million visitors a year.

But since June, he said, they’ve seen a 20% increase in the number of visitors. And most of them, Madden said, are there to use the trails for walking, hiking and cycling.

Madden said parking lots are filling up fast on weekends, and he’s advising those who have flexibility in their schedules to consider a weekday trip.

“If they want to avoid crowds on a weekend day, early morning works best,” Madden said. “And by early morning, they should be out at the park by 9 a.m.”

Because the visitors center is closed until at least February for reconstruction and placement of new exhibits, Madden said there is a way to connect online and via smart phone “to learn about both hiking opportunities and opportunities to learn the history of Valley Forge."

He added, “We anticipate that construction will be complete in December 2020 with the final exhibit installation happening in February 2021."

Meanwhile, he said the non-profit group that runs the Encampment store, located in a modular trailer just behind the visitors center, has just released a pandemic audio tour.

“Visitors can download that tour to their phone and then go on a two-to-three-hour tour of the park and learn the history and the significance of the park in the American Revolutionary War,” Madden said.