Who Went Off-Roading and Damaged Trails at the Schuylkill Center?

The environmental center said a driver “flattened an American toad and crushed the shell of a box turtle” during the illegal ride.

schuylkill center off-roading

Someone went off-roading on the Schuylkill Center property. | Photo courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education is having a rough month.

First, someone broke into the supply shed for the organization’s Toad Detours (during which volunteers help toads cross a busy road to mate) and stole all of the volunteers’ safety vests and flashlights. (What a person would do with tons of safety vests and flashlights — other than help toads not get squashed by cars — remains a mystery.)

Just around the same time — on March 29th and April 7th, according to the Schuylkill Center — someone decided to take a Jeep Wrangler on a joy ride all over the organization’s sprawling Roxborough property, destroying the plants and wildlife that volunteers attempt to preserve.

According to the organization, which posted photos of the Jeep on Facebook, the car was found abandoned on the property on April 8th and retrieved later that day. The Schuylkill Center believes the driver “flattened an American toad and crushed the shell of a box turtle” during the ride.

Maybe I’m stating the obvious here, but the wildlife center’s trails (which are really lovely) are open for foot traffic only — not bicycles, not cars, and certainly not off-roading.

The Schuylkill Center says it has contacted the Philadelphia Police Department, which recommended that the organization reach out to the public to see if there were any witnesses. Anyone who has information is asked to contact Steve Goin, the organization’s director of land and facilities, by emailing steve@schuylkillcenter.org or calling 215-853-6782. A spokesperson for the Schuylkill Center said the organization had yet to receive any leads on Tuesday afternoon.

The center will hold a “restoration volunteer workday” on May 18th to help restore the damaged trails and preserve the rest of the 340-acre property. Attendees can also learn about invasive plant removal, native species plantings, and trail maintenance projects. Gloves, tools, and snacks will be provided. You can find more information here.