Gordons Pond Trail
Rave reviews continue to come in from cyclists and hikers on the newly-completed Gordons Pond Trail. From day one of the trail’s opening, it has been exceedingly popular. This summer, trail usage has averaged 700 per day on weekends and 500 users on weekdays. “Sometimes we run on the trail, other times we ride our bike to Rehoboth for dinner,” said Lewes resident Rusty Laporte. Combined with other area trails, the Gordons Pond Trail figures prominently in the evolving 15-mile regional trail system between Lewes and Rehoboth. This fall DNREC and Delaware State Parks expect countless birders to flock to the trail too, in pursuing their pastime. State Bond Bill funds from the Trails & Pathways Initiative were used for trail construction.
Assawoman Canal Trail
Construction is underway on the Assawoman Canal Trail. When finished, the 1-mile long trail will link Route 26, Central Avenue and Elliott Avenue in Ocean View, providing new recreational trail opportunities for biking and walking. The Assawoman Canal Trail is part of a regional trail, pathway and sidewalk network linking Ocean area roads. State Bond Bill funds from the Trails & Pathways Initiative and federal Recreational Trails Funds will be used to construct the trail.
New Castle Industrial Trail
The New Castle Industrial Track was a rail line connecting the Wilmington Riverfront and the City of New Castle. The line was taken out of service in the 1970s; the right of way is owned by the State of Delaware. Starting in the 1990s, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), and New Castle County discussed the possibility of reusing the Industrial Track alignment for an active (bicycle and pedestrian) transportation connection between New Castle and Wilmington.
This alignment is desirable not only because of its directness, but because the entire six‐mile alignment has very few at-grade road crossings. Previous plans have outlined the need for a trail in this location. Specifically, the Industrial Track was addressed by the East Coast Greenway Feasibility Study and is part of the New Castle County Greenway Plan. Extensive public outreach conducted during the development of those plans indicated support for an active transportation connection between Wilmington and New Castle. Furthermore, both the Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO) 2040 Regional Transportation Plan and the 2007 New Castle County Comprehensive Plan include the trail. These last two plans specifically describe a connection crossing the Christina River at the location of the former Industrial Track bridge and continuing northeast to the Wilmington Riverwalk.
Currently, the Industrial Track Trail extends from New Castle to the southern bank of the Christina River. Phase III of the project, which is slated to begin in 2016, will create a bridge across the river and a boardwalk through the wetlands of the Russell Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge. This phase will complete the continuous route between New Castle and the Wilmington Riverfront. DelDOT expects Phase III to be complete by 2018.
The Industrial Track Trail is expected to become part of the East Coast Greenway, a 2,900-mile trail linking the major cities of the Eastern Seaboard between Canada and Key West, Florida. Phase IV of the Industrial Track Trail would connect the southern end of the trail to Battery Park in New Castle.