Today’s ribbon-cutting marking the opening of a 1.1-mile trail that links the Pike Creek and Hockessin areas to the City of Newark did more than expand the full 18-mile state park trail system.
It opened up new opportunities for people with accessibility issues who previously had a tough time navigating park trails and other park amenities.
The Tri-Valley Trail in White Clay Creek State Park, now open to the public, was a long-time priority of the DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation. This is the state’s first continuous trail allowing visitors with mobility challenges to enjoy the opportunity to hunt, fish, and participate in accessible hay wagon rides.
The continuous trail also means that visitors will no longer have to leave the park and drive to another area of the park to take advantage of other recreational opportunities.
“Regardless of ability, everyone deserves the chance to recreate and enjoy the outdoors, and DNREC could not be more proud to provide these opportunities to our visitors,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.
Several multi-use trail users attended today’s event, including trail walkers and people on mountain bikes, road bikes, and self-propelled e-bikes. John McNeal, director of the State Council for Persons with Disabilities and Delaware’s ADA Title II coordinator also enjoyed the new trail in his wheelchair while chatting with U.S. Sen Tom Carper, who also participated in today’s event.
The first phase of the Tri-Valley Trail was completed in 2017 and was initiated under Former Governor Jack Markell’s First State Trails and Pathways Initiative. About 80 percent of the $2.3 million construction project came from federal funding, with the remainder provided by the Delaware General Assembly.
A primitive camping area in the park — along the trail — is currently under construction and expected to be completed in October.
Carper emphasized the importance of an expanded and accessible park for all residents.“Trails like this support a healthy lifestyle to those who want to walk, ride and enjoy the outdoors. People want to live and work in areas with recreational activity and where they can enjoy the beautiful, peaceful outdoors. I am proud to support the federal programs that funded this trail so that more people can enjoy our wonderful State Parks.”