BAINBRIDGE, Pa. (WHTM) — Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Deputy Secretary Mike Walsh helped cut the ribbon on Wednesday, July 27 on the final section of the 14-mile Northwest River Trail that spans five areas within Lancaster County.

“Trails connect places. They connect people to the outdoors. They bring visitors to communities to help keep economies vibrant, and in the case of the Northwest River Trail also connect people to the river,” Walsh said. “So, it’s a great day when we can celebrate a trail being complete, moving us closer to our goal of a trail within 10 minutes of every Pennsylvanian.”

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According to a release, the trail provides access to the Susquehanna River Water Trail for walking, pedal, and paddle opportunities. It will link the towns of Marietta, Wrightsville, Columbia, Bainbridge, and Falmouth. The trail will also provide signage to users to locate local businesses in the communities mentioned.

Completing the project took decades, and the development of the trail has led to reinvestment in local businesses and the creation of new businesses that support outdoor recreation.

“We started our outfitting business in Columbia because we bought into the vision of local leaders that the river is a resource that should be protected yet capitalized on to bring people to town and expand the economy through ecotourism,” Jim Cox, owner of Chiques Rock Outfitters in Marietta said.

The Northwest River Trail is located in the Susquehanna Riverlands Conservation Landscape and the Susquehanna National Heritage Area.