Former Delaware Governor and United States Congressman Michael Castle was the honored guest last week as Governor Jack A. Markell joined U.S. Senator Chris Coons, U.S. Congressman John Carney, Deputy Secretary Nicole Majeski, Department of Transportation (DelDOT), and Secretary Collin O’Mara, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) in the ribbon cutting ceremony on the new “Castle Trail” on the the C&D Canal.

The almost $6 million trail, part of the First State Trails and Pathways Initiative, currently stretches about nine miles from the southern end of the Branch Canal west to Summit Bridge. This scenic stretch along the canal bank is a multi-use pathway designed to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, anglers and equestrians, and will be managed by DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife as part of the C&D Canal Conservation Area.

“I’m very pleased that after many years of planning and construction, the Mike Castle C&D Canal Trail is finally open to the public,” said U.S. Congressman Carney.  “This is a beautiful area of our state, and the trail will allow more Delawareans to appreciate it while walking, biking, and enjoying a healthy, active lifestyle.  I’m also happy for my predecessor in Congress, Mike Castle.  It’s fitting that the trail be named for someone who spent so much time and effort working, along with his state director, Jeff Dayton, to help create it.  I want to wish him congratulations and thank him for his tremendous work.”

“Opening this new trail will help support tourism, connect communities, get people outside and help improve their quality of life through healthy activity and enjoyment of nature,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “In addition to advancing our plans for a statewide network of trails, the Michael N. Castle Trail also supports Delaware’s Bayshore Initiative in its goal to enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities.”

Construction began in September on the next phase of the Castle Trail, the 0.9-mile Branch Canal Pedestrian and Bicyclist Path. When completed in late 2014, the approximately $1.4 million Branch Canal component will connect the main part of the Castle Trail along the north side of the C&D Canal with Delaware City’s Canalfront Promenade. In addition to DelDOT and DNREC, partners involved in this phase also include the New Castle Conservation District and the City of Delaware City.

First State Trails and Pathways Initiative is a partnership led by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control with regional and local organization and government partners.

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