Red Maple Boardwalk reopens after two years

Chelsea Foster and Carly Kramer

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UNF’s Red Maple Boardwalk reopened on Tuesday, Aug. 21. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the two-year long construction completion.

The 30-year-old trail encountered some damage due to Hurricane Matthew, as well as general wear over time. Students voted to give the path a well-needed renovation. Assistant Director Amy Costa of Eco Adventure said students expressed their desire for the trail to be reopened.

The latest renovation also made Red Maple Boardwalk both safer and wheelchair accessible. Costa says the trail will be more sustainable and last for another 30 to 40 years. The directors of the trails say it’s increasingly important to provide a space for all students to escape from the stress of college life.

“[The trails] provide not only an opportunity for students to relax, exercise and study, but it’s also environmental education,” Senior Director for Recreation and Wellness Ashley Ballard said.

Five miles of the Nature Trails remain accessible to UNF and the surrounding community, according to Ballard.

President David Szymanski said he’s proud of the work of Student Government, who helped support the renovations.

“Each day, I’m not only more impressed with not only who we are, but the facilities that we have,” Szymanski said before the ribbon-cutting.

Student Government President Jenna DuPilka was also in attendance to show her excitement for the reopening.

The guests ranging from students to project engineers were able to enjoy the ceremony with hors d’oeuvres and were offered a tour of the new trails. Students along with those in the community are encouraged to become involved through available sponsorship opportunities.

The Red Maple Boardwalk can be accessed by the J.M. Golden Environmental Pavilion, Bldg. 54. It is open to visitors during daylight hours, 365 days a year.


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