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Hidden Treasures

Creekside Trail, fishing pond attract many to Wayne Township

ARIANNA MCKEE / THE EXPRESS Clockwise, from top left, a “Good Luck Bell” hides somewhere in the park; the fish pond at the McElhattan Nature Park is pictured, as well as the newly constructed dam; a sign marks the start of the Creekside Trail; a display board at the fish pond shows the types of different fish that normally inhabit the fish pond; one of the statues along the trail lurks.

McELHATTAN — “I wanted to do something that would have an impact on the community,” Jacob Clausen said when asked how he chose his senior project.

And an impact it has had.

Hundreds of people have taken to the widely popular “Creekside Trail,” in Wayne Township on any given day.

With approval from the Wayne Township Recreation Committee and township supervisors, and with help from the McGuire family, Clausen, a 2019 graduate of Central Mountain High School, completed his project between January and March this year.

The unique trail is located as a side trail from the widely popular Wayne Township Nature Park, that runs alongside McElhattan Creek to Durty Dabbers property.

ARIANNA MCKEE / THE EXPRESS Clockwise, from top left, a “Good Luck Bell” hides somewhere in the park; the fish pond at the McElhattan Nature Park is pictured, as well as the newly constructed dam; a sign marks the start of the Creekside Trail; a display board at the fish pond shows the types of different fish that normally inhabit the fish pond; one of the statues along the trail lurks.

The trail, which first started in 2018, brings together the community and allows golf carts, bikes and four-wheelers to be ridden on the trail and the handicap accessible bridges that go over streams.

Clausen not only worked with the township and their committee but also signed a Memorandum of Understanding and worked alongside the state Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that all requirements were met for the trail.

The full trail is about 0.5 miles and includes a multitude of interacting elements for families and children including wood stumps for children to jump on alongside one of the bridges, picnic tables and chairs, rock and wood benches, wood-carved statues and much more.

Clausen also said that he hopes to continue the project by himself or with another Central Mountain senior student to build an extension from the Durty Dabbers property to Zindel Park.

The ongoing project could also include pavilions and Flora and Fauna identification of trees and animals that locals can see on their walks.

ARIANNA MCKEE / THE EXPRESS Clockwise, from top left, a “Good Luck Bell” hides somewhere in the park; the fish pond at the McElhattan Nature Park is pictured, as well as the newly constructed dam; a sign marks the start of the Creekside Trail; a display board at the fish pond shows the types of different fish that normally inhabit the fish pond; one of the statues along the trail lurks.

“It has been a big hit so far,” Clausen added. “I have learned so much.”

Clausen said that children come through the park and leave little figurines of butterflies, gnomes, fairies, spiders and other woodsy creatures to bring life to the trail.

Walking through the stones of the trail, you can see pops of color from the figurines, the art work and the geocoded memories that the children have left for the next walkers.

Jane White, secretary/treasurer of the township’s recreation committee, spoke highly about the trail and the community impact in bringing together families and children to not only walk the trail but to walk the entire Nature Park and see the frog pond, butterfly garden and fish pond, which was recently rebuilt.

The dam at the fish pond was built in 2016 and needed to be rebuilt to meet state guidelines in order to obtain permits, she said.

ARIANNA MCKEE / THE EXPRESS Clockwise, from top left, a “Good Luck Bell” hides somewhere in the park; the fish pond at the McElhattan Nature Park is pictured, as well as the newly constructed dam; a sign marks the start of the Creekside Trail; a display board at the fish pond shows the types of different fish that normally inhabit the fish pond; one of the statues along the trail lurks.

White said that her late husband and his colleagues were the ones who came up with the idea of the fish pond and dock and created it. With the help of the recreation committee and the board of supervisors, the dam was torn down and rebuilt with the correct requirements and necessary permits in honor of White’s husband.

“The Fish Commission and everyone who helped get this rebuilt have been absolutely generous and supportive in getting the fish pond back in place,” she said.

The fish pond and dock is a community favorite with catch and release fishing, a dock to stand and watch the fish as well as food to feed the fish.

“There are a lot of people who enjoy watching or looking at the fish,” White said.

Though there are currently no fish in the pond, White said it won’t be long.

ARIANNA MCKEE / THE EXPRESS Clockwise, from top left, a “Good Luck Bell” hides somewhere in the park; the fish pond at the McElhattan Nature Park is pictured, as well as the newly constructed dam; a sign marks the start of the Creekside Trail; a display board at the fish pond shows the types of different fish that normally inhabit the fish pond; one of the statues along the trail lurks.

“We hope to get the right agreement completed and new fish waiting in the pond for children and families to feed and watch.

“There isn’t a day that you don’t see the parking lot full,” White added.

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