DEDICATION OF GPTN CONNECTOR BRIDGE, Densmore Park, June 5
The biggest trail project in recent years was the completion of the connector bridge from the Rock Island Trail in Densmore Park, over the active railway lines, and connecting down to the Jamaica North Trail on the east side of Wilderness Park. This project was very expensive and would not have been possible without the support of government agencies, community groups, and generous donations from private individuals. In recognition of the extraordinary fundraising efforts of the Great Plains Trails Network, the city named the structure the GPTN Connector Bridge. Last November the city had scheduled a grand opening ceremony with the mayor issuing a proclamation for a GPTN day in the city. Unfortunately the ceremony had to be postponed because of Covid. Finally on June 5, 2021, the rescheduled ceremony was held.
In Densmore Park a donor plaza was installed with bike racks, seating, and a multi-purpose working water fountain as well as a three-sided donor recognition kiosk. At the ceremony city and county officials, representatives of the engineering and design teams, leaders of GPTN, and major private donors were recognized. Lincoln has a remarkable community spirit and this project could not have been possible without such support. Next time you are in the park, check out the names on the donor board and if you recognize any please extend your thanks. It would not have happened without them.
(RE) DISCOVERING WILDERNESS PARK
If you have never been to Wilderness Park or haven’t been in a long while, now is the time to visit the city’s largest park located in southwest Lincoln. Years of damage from floods, erosion, and destroyed bridges had left much of the park virtually inaccessible. But a rebuild of several bridges, refurbishment of parking lots and trails, and new maps and signage have greatly improved things. Wayfinding posts and kiosks have also been added to the park. The GPTN connector bridge links the park to the Rock Island Trail and Densmore Park.
The old Rock Island Railway crossed the park and the continuation of the abandoned right-of-way extends from the GPTN Connector through the park as a trail. Some of the infrastructure of the old railway is still intact and in the future the trail might be extended through the park and out into the neighborhood on the southwest side.
For more information go to the website or Facebook page of the Friends of Wilderness Park at www.friendsofwildernesspark.org. They provide a map with detailed information.
DETOURS AND WORK IN PROGRESS
–The Rock Island Trail through the Children’s Zoo is closed because of work on Cascade Fountains. This will take much of the summer to finish but a handy detour is the Billy Wolff Trail on the east side of the Zoo.
–The Homestead Trail has been closed by the NRD near Martell Road because of a bridge failure. This closure may last several months as the bridge will have to be replaced.
–Work will likely begin this summer for the underpass of the Salt Creek Levee Trail under the railroad tracks at J St. The start date is likely in August.
–The Oak Creek Trail has a section closed about one mile west of Valparaiso because of severe stream bank erosion. Repairs are forthcoming.
Repairs to the Salt Creek Levee Trail by Good Life Fitness to Jamaica North are now completed.
REOPENING AND RIBBON CUTTING
The Lied Pedestrian Bridge over the Platte River was severely damaged in the 2019 floods. Much of the trail to the bridge on both sides of the river also had to be rebuilt. This work has finally been completed.
Special thanks to Sara Hartzell and Bobby Bartja at Lincoln Parks and Recreation for their assistance. See you on the trails!