Plans to extend and improve Gordons Pond Trail are being looked upon favorably following an April 3 informational open house about the project at Lewes Public Library.
The Gordons Pond Trail project will create 2.7 miles of improved trail connecting Gordons Pond to Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park.
The Junction & Breakwater Trail and Gordons Pond Trail will link to become a major segment of a 15.5-mile loop forming a regional trail system connecting Rehoboth Beach and Lewes.
Department of Parks & Recreation planners set up maps at the library, showing birdseye views of the trail and maps isolating trail sections where the most work would be done.
The trail is aligned and designed to protect rare plant and animal species and archaeological sites from wayward bikers and hikers. The existing trail is primitive and mostly unmarked.
A 900-foot boardwalk-bridge will span the environmentally sensitive area. The structure will be supported on helical piles that are screwed into the ground.
“The piles have low environmental impact because they displace very little soil,” said Susan Moerschel, planning chief, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Park Resource Office.
Moerschel said boardwalk-bridge decking would be a fiberglass grid with a nonskid surface. She said the grid would allow sunlight and rainwater to reach vegetation growing underneath.
Moerschel said the entire trail would be accessible to people with disabilities.
“You can push a stroller on it, ride a bike with skinny tires and rollerblade on it,” she said. The new segment would be surfaced with stone dust like that already used throughout the trail.
Lewes resident David Weber, an avid hybrid cyclist, said his concern about the surface on the extended trail section has been addressed.
“It’s going to be solid and safe; it really packs. Overall, I’m very pleased. The trail is going to be well used, and it will be an asset to the area,” Weber said.
The Gordons Pond Trail project is one of the first in Gov. Jack Markell’s Statewide Trails and Pathways Initiative. The trail network will help to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce air pollution and traffic by taking cars off the road.
Project construction, which will cost about $3 million, is expected to begin this fall. Completion would be in spring 2014.
To view Gordons Pond Trail maps and to access an online comment form, go to www.dnrec.delaware.gov/parks/information/pages/gordonspond.aspx.
Comments will be accepted through Tuesday, April 30.