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A half-mile tribute to a local family

06/30/2015 09:07AM ● Published by J. Chambless

Steve Allaband, chairman of the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors, cuts the ribbon on the official opening of the Landenberg Junction Trail, the newest link in the growing network of trails being developed by the township. Also pictured at the June 27 ceremony are Joan Hendrickon Hannah and Don Peters of the Friends of the New Garden Trails.

Gallery: Landenberg Junction Trail [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

As a persistent rain fell over Landenberg this past Saturday morning, several generations of a family gathered to dedicate a new nature trail in the place where many of them grew up. The area they once called home will now be enjoyed for generations to come.

As nearly two dozen members of the Hendrickson family looked on, the Friends of the New Garden Trails officially opened the Landenberg Junction Trail, a nearly half-mile long pathway that encompasses both the Pomeroy & Newark and the Wilmington & Western Railroad rail beds along the White Clay Creek. The trail joins New Garden Township Park, the Mill Race Trail and the Laurel Woods Trail in a spiraling connection that eventually will form a 17-mile trail. The trail will start and end at the White Clay Preserve, winding through London Britain, New Garden, Franklin and London Grove townships, along the east and middle branches of White Clay Creek.

The trail commemorates Nick and Betty Hendrickson, “who lived here, raised a family here and for many years shared the fondness for the community of Landenberg with friends, neighbors and nature,” as stated in the trail opening's kiosk.

“This has been a big effort on the part of a lot of people in New Garden Township,” said Bernie McKay of the Friends of the New Garden Trails, a volunteer group dedicated to the preservation of township trails. “This all started about five years ago, when we saw the 'for sale' sign on the [Hendrickson] driveway. We had already had two trails, and the goal was to try to connect all of these trails, and this was a large part of that.”

“We were delighted to make your land available, and be able to continue what you've done for many, many years, and that's to keep it beautiful, as well as make it available for other people to come and enjoy what you started over 100 years before,” McKay said to the Hendrickson family. “Downtown Landenberg is near and dear to our hearts, and this just adds to the historic nature of Landenberg.”

Funding for the trail came from Landenberg Village LLC, the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors, the White Clay Watershed Steering Committee, and from state, local and federal agencies.

Gwen Lacy of the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County said that the Landenberg Junction Trail adds another link in the appeal of southern Chester County.

“A lot of the people who visit the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve area live in nearby developments in New Garden Township,” Lacy said. “Many of these developments have open space with a trail that can be connected right to the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve and to the Bucktoe Nature Preserve. Now, with the opening of nature trails throughout the area, that opens the notion of more walkable communities.”

Joan Hendrickson Hannah admired a natural habitat garden – being developed by local gardener Shane Morgan – that now grows on the site of where the Hendrickson home once stood.

“Having the house now gone is very emotional for me, and I was kind of hoping that it would be restored, but this [garden] is the next best thing,” she said. “This is really wonderful with what has been done here.”

McKay said that he and his colleagues are currently working with London Britain Township to possibly extend the trail down to the White Clay Creek State Park.

“Someday, hopefully, we'll connect, but we wanted to take advantage of getting this chunk here, because you need to get it piece by piece, when you can,” he said.

To learn more about the New Garden trail system, visit www.FriendsoftheNewGardenTrails.org.

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