Revised plans to improve Gordons Pond Trail and connect it to a regional trail system are ready for public scrutiny and comment.
An open house focusing on the trail is set for 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 3 in the Lewes Public Library second-floor meeting room.
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Parks & Recreation is spearheading the project and is hosting the open house.
The trail would be a key link in a 15.5-mile regional trail system connecting Rehoboth Beach and Lewes. The system would also include the existing Junction and Breakwater Trail.
Gordons Pond Trail would extend from a wildlife observation platform in the pond area and connect to Walking Dune Trail near Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park.
Susan Moerschel, planning chief, DNREC Park Resource Office, said since last year’s open house, there have been slight tweaks in the Gordons Pond Trail alignment where it connects with Walking Dune Trail.
“It might not be perceptible, but what it does is further protect natural resources in the area,” Moerschel said.
The extended trail, which would be about two miles long, improves and reroutes an existing primitive trail. The proposed trail would include a short, four-tenths- mile-long elevated boardwal and a 1.5-mile section surfaced with stone dust.
Moerschel said the trail would comply with Americans with Disability Act requirements. Its top surface, called stone dust, fills space between larger stones underneath to create a smooth surface.
“The surface is softer on the foot and prized by runners. You can push a stroller on it, ride a bike with narrow-gauge tires, and I’ve even seen people rollerblading on it,” Moerschel said.
Open house visitors will be able to view trail plans, area maps and trail alignments. Models of the boardwalk and bridge for the elevated section, examples of decking materials and helical pilings that minimally disrupt the environment will also be on hand.
Advertisements seeking construction bids could be placed this summer, and work could begin in fall, Moerschel said.
The trail would be closed for about six month during construction, and the projected opening is spring, 2014, she said.
The project is one of the first in Gov. Jack Markell’s Statewide Trails and Pathways Initiative. Trail networks help to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce air pollution and traffic by taking cars off the road.
Trails for walking, hiking, biking and jogging, consistently rank as the highest outdoors recreational need throughout the state, according to parks and recreation surveys.
Trails also offer opportunities for residents and visitors to experience and learn about nature in Delaware.