Milford Parks and Recreation and Downtown Milford, Inc. hosted the first Annual Paddle Pedal Festival on Saturday, October 13th, highlighting Milford’s commitment to ecotourism with a 20k bike ride, 10k run and kayaking activities. The event celebrated the opening of the next phase of the Misipillion Riverwalk Project, the Chaney-Wilmont Greenway, located between the Vinyard Shipyard and Goat Island on the South side of the Mispillion River.
The $380,000 project, partially funded by the Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund and matched by the City of Milford, features a beautiful, scenic overlook of the Mispillion River with a floating dock for fishing and access to the river and sidewalks and picnic area for recreation and relaxation.
“This is a great day for the city of Milford and the state of Delaware,” commented Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Change (DNREC) Deputy Secretary David Small. “The state is making some significant investments to help get families outdoors. This river is a wonderful resource as Milford is making these connections with their downtown to create low impact economic development and recreational activities.”
Future plans for the Chaney-Wilmont Greenway include a visitor and nature center off of Marshall Street that will be key to the city’s ecotourism initiative and will promote economic development for the citizens of Milford and Kent and Sussex Counties. The location will be an educational resource for area schools, community and nature groups.
Both the 20k bike ride and 10k run led participants along the Mispillion River from the Chaney-Wilmont Greenway to the recently dedicated Lacy E. Nichols Jr. Cedar Creek Boating Access Area in Slaughter Beach east of Milford. The new $3.2 million facility, which offers boaters access to Cedar Creek, Mispillion Harbor and the Delaware Bay, includes eight 16-foot wide concrete launch lanes, five full-floatation boarding docks and one full-floatation courtesy dock connected to a 30-foot timber walkway.
“The Chaney-Wilmont Greenway is the big connecting piece to the final part of the puzzle, Goat Island,” commented Director of Milford Parks and Recreation Gary Emory. “We hope to encourage ecotourism and plan to partner with businesses to create a natural amphitheater across the river in the future.”
The Goat Island project, which is set to begin in 2013, will take place on an eight acre island on the Mispillion River located next to the Chaney-Wilmont Greenway. The habitat consists of three separate ecosystems including tidal forest swampland, freshwater tidal swamp and the Mispillion River.The island will include a nature study area with seating, display boards and work tables. The trail will consist of an at grade path with raised overlook areas including benches and information panels.
Upon completion “Goat Island Nature Park” will anchor the eastern most phase of the Mispillion Greenway which will result in a one mile contiguous pedestrian walkway to be enjoyed by the citizens of Milford and future generations for years to come.
“People don’t understand how incredible these things are to have in your back yard,” commented Emory. “We want people to understand their importance and begin to enjoy these areas.”