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Kidder trail opens for biking, hiking

Sixteen years ago, a group of Kidder Township residents set the goal of adding trails to their community.

“The community said ‘We have people walking on the streets — pushing baby carriages down Lake Harmony Road’ — so we did a survey. The survey stated overwhelmingly that we need to improve recreation and trails for the community,” said Frank Gilotti, president of the Kidder Township Environmental Advisory Council.

On Wednesday, the residents officially opened the first section of a trail network which they hope will one day give residents and visitors safe pedestrian and bicycle access to the area.

The Kidder Hike and Bike Trail Group celebrated the first phase of the township’s proposed recreation trail along with the EAC, township supervisors, the Carbon Chamber and Economic Development Corporation, and local officials.

While they hoped to mark the day with a hike, they celebrated inside at Louie’s Prime Steakhouse due to heavy rain.

The new trail provides a safe pedestrian connection between Big Boulder Drive and the restaurants along Lake Harmony Road.

The crushed stone trail is designed to be handicap accessible so all members of the community can take advantage of it, said Barb Franzosa, township supervisor.

“It is accessible to everyone. It costs extra money, but we did it, and I’m very proud we spent the extra money,” she said.

Franzosa thanked a long list of supporters. Credit for planning the trail went to the current and former township manager, the township maintenance crew, and the landowners who granted easements to make the project possible.

She thanked the chamber, Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau and Blue Ridge Real Estate Company and the Lake Harmony Watershed Preservation Group for helping raise money, and the supervisors for appropriating funds.

“It truly takes a village to build a trail, and time,” she said.

Guiding the entire project, she said, were the EAC members.

Gilotti recalled how the process went from the initial survey identifying the need for recreation trails. He said the supervisors provided support, then the township’s engineer put together at trail map. The next step was acquiring right of way, which took the longest part of the project.

Gilotti said that they will continue to work hard to connect the trail to Route 903, and continue into the Lake Harmony community.

“We got it this far, it’s a big step, and we’re going to go forward,” he said.

Supervisors’ Chairman Tom Bradley recalled the preliminary discussions of a trail many years ago. He said it ended up being more work than anyone anticipated, but it is a good thing for the township.

“It is good for the area and it’s good for the residents, property owners and the visitors. I hope we can keep it going,” he said.

The event was hosted by the Carbon County Chamber and Economic Development Corporation. They were partners in helping to hold fundraising events for the trail like “Float Your Boat” at Lake Harmony in 2018.

Chamber officials said outdoor recreation is an important part of the area’s economy.

“The outdoors is in our nature and we’re excited to see this trail open and everything that’s coming after it,” Alice Wanamaker said.

Bill Richards of Sen John Yudichak’s office praised the volunteers for making the trail a reality, and is optimistic about the next phases of the project.

“It’s beautiful to see how it looks now, but the pans are extreme what we’re going to do in the future. And it’s really promising, and we look forward to working with you,” he said.

State Rep Doyle Heffley said hiking and biking trails are features that people want in their communities, and it will continue to help Kidder Township grow.

“Everything that is Lake Harmony and Kidder Township area, this is going to build on that, this is going to continue and evolve and grow,” he said.

Barb Franzosa, Kidder Township supervisor, thanks supporters who helped to open the first phase of a trail network around the Lake Harmony area. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS
Supporters of the Kidder Township Hike and Bike Trail Group cut the ribbon on the first section of the trail on Wednesday. From left, Police Chief Matthew Kuzma, Louis Pantages, State Rep. Doyle Heffley, Alice Wanamaker, Pat Pinotti, Barb Franzosa, Suzanne Brooks, Bing LaFond, David Walasavage, and Kathy Henderson. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS