WHITE MILLS, Pa. (October 27) – Today, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Executive Director Tim Schaeffer, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, and other state officials joined the Wayne County Commissioners, Lackawaxen River Trails group, and community partners to celebrate the opening of the new White Mills River Access Park in Texas Township.
The park, which features a concrete boat launch, parking lot with ADA parking spaces and walkway, and restroom, provides the first handicap accessible public access to the Lackawaxen River in Wayne County.
"When communities recognize the value of the natural resources in their own backyards, like the incredible Lackawaxen River Trail, and embrace fishing and boating access along these waterways, the benefits are undeniable," said Schaeffer. "Thank you to the local residents who had the vision for this ribbon of projects. Their pride in these recreational amenities will translate into greater resource stewardship and enhanced access to the water that will make the Lackawaxen truly relevant to the region."
"Congratulations to everyone who has been a part of bringing this river trail to reality," Dunn said. "The Lackawaxen River has been an economic backbone over two centuries, from early logging through the building of the canal and transporting coal. Now, this river trail will connect people to nature, recreational opportunities, communities, history, businesses, and so much more."
Funding for the White Mills River Access Park project was provided to Wayne County through the PFBC's Boating Facility Grant Program ($120,290) in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, DCNR's Community Conservation Partnerships Program ($158,000), and local fundraising ($37,000).
"We received DCNR support to fund a trail feasibility study which was released in 2020," said Wayne County Commissioner Brian Smith. "Not only did the study show that river and land trails are feasible, but the public survey found 93% of respondents supported the multi-purpose river trail concept. Our residents, visitors, and businesses are excited to see this come to fruition."
"Today's celebration is a culmination of diligent work by many community partners and multiple levels of government," added Senator Rosemary Brown (PA-40). "Ensuring access to Pennsylvania's natural beauty is critical to building appreciation of our outdoor recreation and promoting environmental stewardship and conservation."
"Outdoor recreation is an incredible asset in Wayne County," added Rep. Jonathan Fritz (PA-111). I am pleased to partner with local and state agencies to increase opportunities for our residents and visitors alike. It's all about quality of life!"
"Hiking and boating are two highly popular activities in an area blessed with woods, waterways, and wildlife. This project opens terrific and accessible recreational opportunities to more residents," added Senator Lisa Baker (PA-20). "A lot of people are involved in moving a project from conception to completion, so there are a lot of commendations to be given today. Recognition is well-deserved for the Fish & Boat Commission and DCNR, two state agencies doing a solid job in protecting our natural heritage and promoting ways for people to enjoy and benefit from this inheritance."
"The combination of these river accesses tie three communities of Hawley, White Mills, and Honesdale together, with great opportunities for utilization of the amazing Lackawaxen River to all residents and visitors," added State Representative Joe Adams (PA-139). "It is a perfect example of a private/public partnership, and we are all proud to have brought it to fruition."
In addition to White Mills, PFBC and DCNR funding will contribute to two other new access areas along the Lackawaxen River Trail in Honesdale and Indian Orchard. A fourth river access site is already open in Hawley.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission