After more than a year in the offing, the connector trail from the Lawrenceville Hopewell Trail to the main entrance of The Watershed Institute opened on Oct. 6 for the enjoyment of bicyclists, walkers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
The 3/10ths of a mile path – about the length of five football fields – connects the existing trail from the edge of Wargo Road. The new connector travels on a parallel course alongside to Titus Mill Road, offering scenic beauty and safety for recreational users.
About 60 bike enthusiasts celebrated the opening with a watershed-to-watershed bike ride and enjoyed light refreshments while listening to remarks by Jeff Hoagland, Education Director at the Watershed, and LHT Co-President Eleanor Horne.
Instead of using stone dust, the path will offer a demonstration of “pervious pavement.” This feature allows stormwater to soak into the ground and recharge the aquifer instead of slicking off of hard, impervious asphalt and contributing to flooding.
“Our connector trail is an example of best how to handle polluted stormwater runoff,” said Jim Waltman, Executive Director of The Watershed Institute. “Signage along the connector path will educate the public on ‘green infrastructure’ features.”
While there are plenty of bike racks at The Watershed Center to accommodate people visiting with pedal power, bicycles are not allowed on the paths of the Watershed Reserve.
The $130,000 connector path is funded by the William Penn Foundation and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. The project began after the necessary approvals by the Hopewell Township Zoning Board, the Delaware Raritan Canal Commission and the Mercer County Soil Conservation District.
Currently, the LHT runs for about 18 miles on public and private lands in Lawrence and Hopewell townships. Trail planners soon hope to complete the trail and intend for the formation of a 22-mile loop.
The trail links Mercer County parks, schools, historic villages, playing fields and offers views of farmland and woodlands. At the Lawrence Township end, the trail links to the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail.