LHT Co-Presidents Eleanor Horne (left) and Becky Taylor (far right), along with The Watershed Institute’s Education Director Jeff Hoagland, perform a ribbon cutting on Saturday’s Watershed to Watershed Bike Ride from The Watershed Institute.

After more than a year planning, the connector trail from the Lawrenceville Hopewell Trail (“LHT”) to the main entrance of The Watershed Institute opened on October 6, for the enjoyment of bicyclists, walkers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The three-tenths of a mile path – about the length of five football fields – connects the existing trail from the edge of Wargo Road. The new connector travels on a parallel course alongside to Titus Mill Road, offering scenic beauty and safety for recreational users.

Instead of using stone dust, the path offers a demonstration of “pervious pavement.” allowing stormwater to soak into the ground and recharge the aquifer instead of slicking off of hard, impervious asphalt and contributing to flooding.

“Our connector trail is an example of best how to handle polluted stormwater runoff,” said Jim Waltman, executive director of The Watershed Institute. “Signage along the connector path will educate the public on ‘green infrastructure’ features.”

While there are plenty of bike racks at The Watershed Center to accommodate people visiting with pedal power, bicycles are not allowed on the paths of the Watershed Reserve.

The $130,000 connector path is funded by the William Penn Foundation and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. The project began after the necessary approvals by the Hopewell Township Zoning Board, the Delaware Raritan Canal Commission, and the Mercer County Soil Conservation District.

Currently, the LHT runs for about 18 miles on public and private lands in Lawrence and Hopewell townships. Trail planners soon hope to complete the trail and intend for the formation of a 22-mile loop. The LHT is a community run and supported non-profit committed to the completion and interconnection of its trail.

The trail links Mercer County parks, schools, historic villages, and playing fields, and offers views of farmland and woodlands. At the Lawrence Township end, the trail links to the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail.

The Watershed Institute (formerly the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association) is dedicated to keeping Central New Jersey’s water clean, safe and healthy. Founded in 1949, The Watershed Institute protects and restores water and the environment through conservation, advocacy, science and education. For more information about the Watershed,www.thewatershed.org.