On Tuesday, September 26, 2023, Sussex County Land Trust (SCLT) and Sussex County, Delaware, partnered to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the new trailhead at Stephen P. Hudson Park in Milton, DE, that connects with the Georgetown to Lewes Trail. This new trailhead consists of a small rest area and parking lot for public use to support the Trail.
Once complete, the Georgetown to Lewes Trail will be a 17-mile bike/pedestrian trail extending between the two towns following a former railway bed, spearheaded by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). SCLT Board Members, the Sussex County Council, various local and State government officials, community members, and members of the press were in attendance.
“This trailhead is another important connection to our growing trail system in Sussex County that will soon be the largest in our state,” said Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski. “The collaborative effort to create Hudson Park and this trailhead will benefit the thousands of Sussex County residents and guests who utilize and enjoy the trail every day.”
Stephen P. Hudson Park, a 30-acre property, was purchased with several funding sources provided by the Delaware Open Space Council, Sussex County Council, and the Delaware Division of Parks and acquired by the SCLT in 2019. Sussex County Council contributed $450,000 toward the purchase of the park.
The County’s contribution is among a series of investments in recent years, often through partnerships with groups such as the Sussex County Land Trust, to acquire or preserve property of varying sizes for open space and recreational amenities.
“I think this is going to be an amazing addition to Sussex County, not just the trailhead and the Georgetown to Lewes Trail itself, but also the playground that a local Rotary group is planning to build there. It will make it a true park with recreational amenities for people young and older,” said County Council Vice President John L. Rieley, who sits on the Sussex County Land Trust board of directors. “We have a great partnership with the Land Trust, and it’s through collaborative efforts like this that we can truly make an impact and deliver something the community wants and will use.”
Since 2001, the SCLT has purchased, protected, and managed open space parcels throughout Sussex County. The SCLT is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting natural, cultural, agricultural, and recreational resources through land preservation, stewardship, and education for today and tomorrow.
“On behalf of the Land Trust, I would like to express our joy at being able to bring this public access park to life to benefit Sussex County residents. The Trust Board has worked tirelessly to buy, develop, and design this project,” said Sussex County Land Trust Chairwoman, Heidi Gilmore. “We wish to thank the many partners that helped us fund the purchase of the park as well as the development of it. We hope that the residents of the County who can now use this park appreciate all of our efforts. This is the first of several we plan to launch. If anyone can help us with donations to help bring more of these projects into reality, we ask that you reach out to us or check out our website for more information. This is an example of what we can do when we all work together.”