State grant funding will be sought to design a recreational trail extending from Lake Wallenpaupack through Hawley Borough, to the D&H Canal Park under development west of town. R. Anthony Waldron II updated the Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP) Oct. 3rd at their meeting at the Hawley Library. The topic continued in the public meeting that followed, discussing a vision plan for Hawley’s future. Waldron, who is a local attorney and one of the partners behind the Hawley Silk Mill project, said that an alternative hiking/bicycling path is being considered away from the PPL flow line. The trail is meant to extend the current hiking opportunity afforded by the Wallenpaupack Lake Trail beginning at the Tafton Dike, and the connecting Wallenpaupack Creek Trail which follows a small portion of PPL’s flow line behind the dam to a nature overlook. These two trail segments opened in 2010; the lake trail was a project of Palmyra Township- Pike County. PPL would not consider allowing extension of the hiking path any further on the flow line, which ultimately leads to the power plant at Kimbles. Rather, an alternate path would be needed through the woods to reach the old logging trail and wagon trail that were already part of the proposal. This route would take hikers through the forested area owned by PPL on the Pike County side just east of Hawley Borough, reaching Cromwelltown. This segment is referred to as the “Wallenpaupack Gorge Trail.” From there the trail would follow streets in Hawley’s Eddy Section to the existing Riverside Trail, along the flood control dike. There is discussion of taking the trail on the short segment of dike starting off Prospect Street. The existing River Walk Trail through Hawley leads hikers from the dike to Bingham Park. The extended trail would cross over Route 6 and pass through the side yard of Settler’s Inn, which was once part of the Delaware & Hudson (D&H) Canal. The Genzlingers, who own the inn, are offering an easement to cross the property. This would take hikers to a remnant of the towpath of the canal alongside Route 6 that was previously donated to the Wayne County Historical Society. This ends at Compton’s Garage, where the canal was filled in, long ago. At this point for about 100 yards, hikers would need to stay on the PennDOT right-of-way along Route 6 till reaching the D&H Canal Park towpath segment owned by the Wayne County Historical Society. This mile of towpath includes the Lock 31 House, now under renovation. In all, the proposed recreational trail, from the Tafton Dike to the D&H Canal Park will be over four miles long. The project is being enthusiastically promoted by Grant Genzlinger. His son Justin Genzlinger has suggested bringing a New York City Marathon Qualifier event to Hawley to run on the trail. The event would bring wide recognition to the community, he said at a DHP community meeting, last May. Sue Currier reported that the PA Department on Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) has a couple grant programs that may be able to help. Municipalities can apply for them. One has an 80/20 match. Next April is the deadline to apply. Grant Genzlinger suggested approaching Hawley Borough Council to request an application for funding for the trail segment through the Borough. Palmyra Township (Pike) could be asked to apply for the grant funds to design the Wallenpaupack Gorge Trail. Waldron will be approaching the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to discuss extending the trail through PPL lands, away from the flow line. Whether FERC approval is actually required, has not yet been confirmed. Kiley Associates will prepare the trail design. A sketch plan will be provided to show PPL and funding agencies. PennDOT needs to be consulted about the 100 yard segment along Route 6. Also in question is how to designate the trail route across Route 6 from the park to Settler’s Inn by the intersection, or direct hikers to the crosswalk to the IGA Market. The entire project is in line with a partnership between Promised Land State Park and Hawley Borough, which seeks to develop outdoor recreation tourism in the area. The cost to make the necessary improvements to open the trail have not been determined. An impediment to ATVs would be needed at the start of the gorge trail at the Cromwelltown end. The trail would be limited to hikers and bicycle users. Elaine Herzog, who is Borough Council, advised bringing the project before the Hawley Parks & Recreation Committee Oct. 30th, and then go before Borough Council in November. The Parks & Recreation meeting, at Borough Hall, starts at 6 p.m.
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