Connected New Jersey

October 14, 2009

David Grant, President and CEO

My first entry on the Dodge Blog last fall described a bike ride on the East Coast Greenway from the Rahway Train Station north into Union Township.  The route meandered through municipal parks and along uncrowded residential streets, and it was reassuring to know one could move through that crowded section of central New Jersey under one’s own power.

This beautiful Sunday afternoon, my wife Nancy and I biked from Franklin Township, just north of Princeton, south to the outskirts of Trenton and enjoyed a long stretch of the East Coast Greenway along the D&R Canal towpath.  If you haven’t had the experience of waving to boaters and appreciating the fall colors while pedaling slowly underneath I-295, you should give it a try.  You won’t be alone either, as walkers, hikers, bikers, boaters, fishermen and joggers with strollers have all discovered this historic path.

My own sense of how one can move through New Jersey close to the ground took on an added dimension on Monday, though, when Nancy and I decided to spend Columbus Day afternoon biking on the Patriot’s Path in Morris County.  We noticed a new logo – new to us, that is – deep in the woods, and we stopped to study it and read about it.

Liberty Water Gap Trail

We realized we were on the relatively newly created Liberty Water Gap Trail, which connects the Delaware Water Gap in the West to the Hudson River Walkway behind the Statue of Liberty in the East.  It incorporates four existing trails: the Lenape Trail in Essex County; the Patriot’s Path in Morris County; the Sussex Branch Trail in Sussex County; and the Paulinskill Trail in Sussex and Warren Counties.  Eventually it will cover 156 miles and pass 15 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, cross over 36 rivers and streams, and connect you to 46 national, state, county and municipal parks including America’s first county park—Branch Brook Park in Newark.

Why hadn’t I heard of this trail?  When I got home, I checked the website of Rails to Trails and found out why – the coordinating Committee for the Trail is still engaged in a four-year Public Awareness Project.  So let me help.  For all of us interested in a sustainable and healthy New Jersey, for all of us who think physical connections between places foster social and cultural connections as well, for all of us who know the physical beauties of our State when you get off the highways, isn’t it nice to think we can walk from the New York/New Jersey Harbor to the Delaware Water Gap?