Fulfilling a longtime dream, the Dauphin County Commissioners, along with federal, state and local officials and members of the Capital Area Greenbelt Association (CAGA),  unveiled a 2-mile extension linking the Capital Area Greenbelt trail to Fort Hunter Park along North Front Street in Susquehanna Township on July 17, 2020.

Extending the 20-mile Greenbelt to Fort Hunter gives walkers, hikers and bikers a safe way to access the park, which draws thousands of visitors every year for various festivals and celebrations, including CAGA’s annual Tour de Belt, now celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“This extension connecting two of our most popular parks – Fort Hunter and Wildwood – has been a goal for the past 30 years,” said board Chairman Jeff Haste. “We’re grateful for support from the state and other funding partners, as well as the many Greenbelt volunteers who maintain the trail, for making this dream a reality.”

The $4.5 million Fort Hunter extension project is part of $7.5 million in Greenbelt upgrades funded by the state departments of Transportation, Conservation and Natural Resources, Environmental Protection and Community and Economic Development. The commissioners also approved $310,000 in gaming grants for the projects, which include safety upgrades to six intersections along the Greenbelt. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission donated ten educational signs along the connector as part of the upgrades.

“Every year, sections of the Greenbelt get between 100,000 to 400,000 visitors, and these projects will ensure they have a safe and fun experience,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “This board of commissioners has always focused on quality of life for all our residents.”

The trail extension stretches along Industrial Road at the northern end of Wildwood to Linglestown Road, where it turns left toward the Susquehanna River and connects to the river-side of North Front Street and Fort Hunter Park.

“It’s critical our children and families have safe, outdoor places where they can have fun, get exercise and enjoy nature,” said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “Expanding and improving the Greenbelt goes directly to our commitment to providing safe and accessible outdoor recreation.’’

Elsewhere along the trail, safety upgrades were completed at the following six intersections: Front and Vaughn, Herr Street and Parkway Drive, Market and 28th streets, Paxton and 32nd streets, Route 441 at the Five Senses Garden, as well as Cameron and Elliot streets. Additionally, resurfacing was completed in multiple locations along the Greenbelt.

For more information about the Capital Area Greenbelt, including how to volunteer or donate, go to www.caga.org.