Gordons Pond bike path designed to reduce impact

Greater Lewes Foundation, DNREC agree on route
October 24, 2011
This map shows the path of a proposed trail connecting Gordons Pond and Herring Point. SOURCE SUBMITTED

A Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control preliminary assessment of trail alternatives for an improved bicycle/pedestrian trail around Gordons Pond coordinates well with a 2008 Greater Lewes Foundation study.

Lee Ann Walling, chief of planning, office of DNREC’s secretary, said a proposed hybrid route minimizes environmental impact. The route combines elements of two routes proposed nearly a year ago by the Gordons Pond Working Group.

The hybrid trail follows the existing trail from Gordons Pond parking lot until the path nears the dune. Walling said the new route avoids crossing the dune at its steepest and most unstable point, but instead turns north and west of the dune.

The trail then goes through an area containing mostly pine trees, huckleberry, poison ivy, greenbrier, phragmites and a few documented rare plant species. Plans call for a wooden boardwalk with railing to pass through the environmentally sensitive dune area. About 1,700 feet of trail consisting of finely crushed stone would lead to the Walking Dunes Trail at Herring Point.

“The executive committee believes this latest hybrid proposal represents a reasonable alternative for consideration, and feels your plan is in general alignment with the recommendations of the GLF’s FutureScan study of 2008,” Michael J. Rawl, Greater Lewes Foundation acting executive director, wrote in an Oct. 10 letter to Collin O’Mara, DNREC secretary.

Writing on behalf of the GLF board, Rawl said the panel has noted and appreciates how much the public likes and uses the 5-mile long Junction and Breakwater Trail.

“We anticipate a similar response to your plans for a linking trail around Gordons Pond,” Rawl wrote.

In his letter, Rawl said the foundation likes DNREC’s thorough and sensitive approach to address concerns such as conserving species, habitat and cultural resource; preserving dune stability; and maintaining visual impact.

“The sustainable trail construction and materials your report recommends will help to mitigate any negative impact, in particular regarding wetland crossings,” Rawl wrote.

Walling said before the end of the year, DNREC would hold workshops to hear comments from the public about the proposed trail. The project would cost an estimated $2.22 million.