The Wayne Pike Trails and Waterways Alliance (WPTWA) has received a $40,000 matching grant from the state.
The grant will help fund a feasibility study for a massive 15-mile project to build recreation trails from the Greater Honesdale area to Hawley.
The grant application was made to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by the Wayne County Commissioners on behalf of the Wayne County Community Foundation, a nonprofit which agreed to oversee the WPTWA’s funds. The award will match monies raised by the WPTWA, a consortium of groups dedicated to creating a connected trail system involving the area’s rivers, parks and railroad tracks.
“This feasibility study will help us identify our next steps,” said Dan Corrigan of the WPTWA. “It will look at property lines, easements, municipal concerns, construction costs and more. Our job now is to find the right company to do the study.”
Corrigan added that work has already begun in some places, such as around Gibbons Park, Irving Cliff and Apple Grove Park in Honesdale Borough and Bingham Park in Hawley. The county has also made improvements on the riverbank at the Park Street Complex in Honesdale. In a statement, the Wayne County Commissioners said they are “excited to support this project,” and added, “The completion of the riverbank trail at the Park Street Complex will only enhance the planned trail system and we look forward to working cooperatively on this study.”
Corrigan suggested that the grant serve to encourage others to pitch in.
“We thank the donors who pledged support for our feasibility study grant and we hope they can continue to help us with these ‘feet on the ground’ projects,” he said.
George Brown, another WPTWA member, said the ultimate goal is to create both recreational and economic opportunities by bringing many elements together.
“Connected is the key word,” he explained, “Imagine putting in a kayak at the Stourbridge Complex, stopping in White Mills at the historic Lock House, and hopping on a train the rest of the way to Hawley, then back to Honesdale.”
WPTWA’s very informal membership includes Tom Myles, owner of the Stourbridge Line, Molly Rodgers, Lisa Champeau, Grant Genzlinger, Dan Corrigan, Jim Jennings, Jeff George, Carol Dunn from the Wayne County Historical Society and Reverend Edward Erb.
The Governor’s office awarded $44 million across the state for 266 projects that will create new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources, and help revitalize local communities.
In making the announcement with the DCNR, Governor Wolf said, “Communities go from good to great when they provide residents and visitors with parks and trails, access to waterways, and opportunities for healthy outdoor activity.”
“I couldn’t have said it better myself,” said Brown.