EXTON Several county groups will mark Saturday as the opening day of the Chester Valley Trail with giveaways of bicycle helmets, refreshments, and new maps of the trail.

Chester County is participating in the official opening day of trail season, which the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in Washington started.

The Chester Valley Trail is 13 miles long and runs from Exton to King of Prussia.

Giveaways will take place along the trail at major access points, including the Exton Trail Head, the East Whiteland Township Building, PNC Bank in Malvern, and the West Lakes Trail Head.

The celebration is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to noon. Details of events can be found at tmacc.org.

P. Timothy Phelps, executive director of the Transportation Management Association of Chester County, called the trail "a safe and aesthetic alternative" to commuting to work by car.

Bike-repair stations along the trail also will be unveiled Saturday. County and PNC Bank officials will show people how to use them at learning sessions at the bank.

The development of the Chester Valley Trail is part of an expansion of the Philadelphia region's trail network for bicyclists and pedestrians that eventually is expected to include 750 miles of trails.

As of last year, 300 miles of the network were completed.

- Michaelle Bond