The Friends of the Wissahickon held their annual Ice Cream Social on the lawn of their headquarters in Chestnut Hill on Wednesday.
“It’s an annual event we hold so that people can connect with us on an informal basis,” said Friends of the Wissahickon Executive Director Maura McCarthy. “We really encourage people to get to know us and what we do.”
The Friends of the Wissahickon are charged with protecting, preserving and maintaining 1800 “glorious” acres of parks, waterways and trails.
“It’s a glorious 1800 acres,” McCarthy said. “We cover 6.8 miles of the creek.”
McCarthy added, “We’re here as a resource. We serve the public, and we work with the city to ensure that the park is safe and up to date.”
Not only does the Wissahickon provide a recreational space for people living in Philadelphia. It also provides the drinking water.
“If you live in Northwest Philly, then you’re drinking water out of the Wissahickon,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said that the Wissahickon provides drinking water for more than 350,000 Philadelphia residents.
“Everything we do is geared toward the public and the public well-being,” McCarthy said. “It’s what we’ve always been here to do: whether that’s preserving open or doing other advocacy work.”
McCarthy added that the park was created specifically to protect the city’s drinking water.
“In the 1860s, there was a lot of industry setting up along the banks of the creek,” McCarthy said. “So the city went in and started buying land to try to protect the city’s water.”