Wayne Co. Commissioners Green-light River Trails Project

Wayne County Commissioners Joseph Adams, Brian Smith, and Wendell Kay announced their support of grassroots efforts to develop an interconnected trail system in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. (March 9, 2017, Photo: Honesdale River Project)

Wayne County Commissioners Joseph Adams, Brian Smith, and Wendell Kay announced their support of grassroots efforts to develop an interconnected trail system in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. (March 9, 2017, Photo: Honesdale River Project)

A grassroots movement to build an interconnected trail system from Honesdale to Hawley and possibly beyond is celebrating the support of the Wayne County Commissioners who agreed on Thursday, March 9th to allow the county to be the applicant for a grant to fund a feasibility study. Members of the newly formed Wayne & Pike Trails & Waterways Alliance (WPTWA) hope to build (or improve) vibrant and safe trails for hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, nature education and other activities along the Lackawaxen River, the Stourbridge Rail Line and Honesdale Borough parks.

“We are thrilled to have the Commissioners on board,” said Dan Corrigan, WPTWA, “it’s a big step on what we anticipate to be a multi-phase journey, a very long—and very exciting—road.” Corrigan noted that the Wayne County Community Foundation (WCCF) has agreed to be the non-profit organization through which funds are collected and funneled for project completion.

The Wayne County Commissioners have backed a plan presented by the Wayne & Pike Trails & Watersways Alliance to develop a vast interconnected trail system between Honesdale and Hawley. Picture: Alliance members Lisa Champeau and Grant Genzlinger (L to R, Front), Commissioners Wendell Kay, Brian Smith, and Joseph Adams.

The Wayne County Commissioners have backed a plan presented by the Wayne & Pike Trails & Watersways Alliance to develop a vast interconnected trail system between Honesdale and Hawley. Picture: Alliance members Lisa Champeau and Grant Genzlinger (L to R, Front), Commissioners Wendell Kay, Brian Smith, and Joseph Adams.

Wayne County, on behalf of the WCCF and to benefit the WPTWA, will apply to the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for matching funds to support a Community Conservation Partnership Program grant for a feasibility study estimated to cost approximately $80,000.  The study will review property owner issues, lease ar­rangements, existing municipal and county plans, water access possibilities and cost estimates for any needed construction. It will also seek public input throughout the process and look at funding sources to complete the project.

“The breadth of this project is significant,” said Tom Myles, owner of the Stourbridge Line Railroad, “and the fulfillment will be also. We are grateful to the Commissioners for seeing the potential of our project.”

“The Wayne County Community Foundation has also approved our first funding request for $5,000,” added Corrigan. “We have another $5,000 committed from other sources and are looking to the community for the remaining $30,000.”

The WPTWA is a consortium of four groups with a common goal. The Stourbridge Rail and Trail group, along with the Honesdale River Project, HonesTrails and the Wallenpaupack Trails/Lock 31 group, all envision a trail system embracing the river that runs through the Honesdale-Hawley corridor and the natural beauty of the area’s parks and woodlands. To donate, follow this link and fill out a letter of commitment.

The partnership will be soliciting commitments for funds to meet the grant application deadline of April 12, 2017.  “We won’t need the money until the grant has been awarded and accepted by the WPTWA,” said Corrigan, who anticipates that happening later this year. 

"We've seen tremendous support from the community about bringing awareness and opening up access to the Lackawaxen River," said Jim Jennings, of the Honesdale River Project. "With the Wayne County Community Foundation and the Commissioners officially on board, we're ready to keep building off of this momentum to make this trail system a reality."

To donate, follow this link and fill out a letter of commitment.