With the new year will come new, major improvements at two river accesses in Wayne County, all part of a larger effort to develop a river trail system connecting Honesdale, White Mills and Hawley along the Lackawaxen River.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has announced Wayne County will receive grant funding in the amounts of $250,000 and $158,000 to develop access parks at Industrial Point in Honesdale and at White Mills respectively, part of the larger Lackawaxen River Trails system.
These awards, coupled with more than $300,000 in grant funding from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) announced earlier in 2021 will provide the necessary funds needed to complete the projects once put out to bid. The county has worked closely with the Wayne Pike Trailways and Waterways Alliance (WPTWA) to secure funding and site plans for the two access parks which will result in, for the first time, official access points on the river.
Industrial Point in Honesdale will see demolition of a vacant structure to make way for safety, storm water management and a public picnic area next to the river access, all as part of a recent Local Share Account grant awarded to the county. Stormwater improvements will also be made to the site before the DCNR and PFBC funding provides for a boat launch, comfort station, pedestrian walkway, and ADA access as well as landscaping and other improvements. The project will enhance the experience for anglers and nature lovers to downtown Honesdale and allow for paddlers to easily launch and travel to White Mills and Hawley.
White Mills at the Factory Field site will also see improvements including a boat launch, fishing pier, composting-comfort station and parking area with ADA access and landscaping as well as signage thanks to the funding secured from DCNR and PFBC. A third river access is complete at Bingham Park in Hawley.
“These river accesses will provide an important connection between our communities and countless individuals who will now have adequate, safe access to the Lackawaxen River for recreation,” said Wayne County Commissioners Brian Smith, Joseph Adams and Jocelyn Cramer. “In the short term, these projects will provide for construction jobs. In the long term, they will have far-reaching impacts to the tourism and hospitality industry and the overall local economy.”
Community donors have helped tremendously in the efforts to fund and complete a feasibility study which was released in May 2020. “This work has been in planning for several years and this additional state funding brings more of this plan to fruition,” the commissioners added.
"Donations from local foundations, businesses and individuals are making these grants and the projects possible. We look forward to welcoming everyone to these sites once completed,” said members of the WPTWA.
To stay up-to-date on the projects, follow Lackawaxen River Trails on Facebook and Instagram or visit lackawaxenrivertrails.org.