An improved trail through a remote section of Cape Henlopen State Park was an initiative that had been alternatively debated and dropped for more than two decades.
The department’s cabinet secretary tasked Lee Ann with facilitating an acceptable alignment through the area.
The area from the Gordon’s Pond parking lot to Herring Point afforded spectacular views of the ocean, marshes, giant dunes and World War II observation towers. But there were also rare plants and animals, migrating dunes, wetlands and archaeological sites to navigate. For more than a year, Lee Ann worked with a group of naturalists and experts in dune migration, rare plants, endangered species, wetlands, sea level rise and archaeology. Some were strongly opposed to the notion of a trail through this area, which had been ditched and used in the past by the US Army when it was part of Fort Miles. Internal and external opposition had doomed the trail idea in the past.
After several field trips, mapping exercises and lively discussions, the team managed to agree on a “least impactful alignment” that negotiated its away around the most sensitive areas. The trail alignment has been designed and will be constructed in 2013-14. It is a key element in Governor Jack Markell’s ambitious First State Trails and Pathways plan.
Despite bouts with chiggers, poison ivy, embedded ticks and sticker bushes, Lee Ann views the Gordon’s Pond trail as one of her most significant accomplishments while at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
Update: The trail opened in June 2014 and is very popular with Delawareans and tourists.
Gordons Pond trail
Client: Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control