Two Recreational Trails Grants Will Lead to Enhanced Public Access to New Jersey Parks and Trails
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has awarded the Trail Conference two Recreational Trails Grant for 2013.
Trail Conference to Create New Maps for State Parks
The first of these grants will allow the Trail Conference to create electronic and print versions of park maps and brochures for New Jersey state parks in the northern region. As a result, the parks will be able to offer visitors accurate, detailed and user friendly park maps, created by the people who built and maintain the trails.
The maps will be distributed free of charge at park entrances, visitor centers and via the internet by both NJDEP and the Trail Conference. In addition to comprehensive, easy-to-follow trail information, the maps and brochures will include high-detail insets to help visitors locate park offices, emergency services, roads, parking lots, access points, swimming and picnic areas, boat launch sites, mobility impaired access sites, and other park activities and amenities.
The free park maps will provide a new level of detail and accuracy to the maps distributed to the public, although they may not necessarily contain all the features of our trail maps available for sale. Maps will be available for the following state parks and forests: Abram S. Hewitt, Allamuchy Mountain/Stephens, Farny, High Point, Hopatcong, Jenny Jump, Kittatinny Valley, Long Pond Ironworks, Norvin Green, Ramapo Mountain, Ringwood, Stokes, Swartswood, Wawayanda, and Worthington.
The maps will be made available to the public as they are completed over the next two years. Click on the map above to see an example of the planned map brochure (PDF).
We'll Build a New Bridge to Restore River Crossing at Long Pond Ironworks
The second Recreational Trails Grant will allow the Trail Conference to replace an essential bridge (see photo at right) in a high traffic area over the Wanaque River at Long Pond Ironworks State Park. The bridge connects LPISP trails to the Ringwood State Park trail system.
The bridge was washed away by extreme high water conditions; the now missing link in the trail system poses an immediate safety hazard as it is located in a popular area, close to historic ironworking furnaces, waterwheels and other historic buildings. The river itself is fast-moving and unsafe to ford, even under normal conditions.
At present, the only existing way around the river is a three-mile detour to the north side of Monksville Reservoir, involving a walk along a busy highway. With the loss of this bridge, three major trails were cut off and made impassible, including the 150 mile-long Highlands National Millennium Legacy Trail.
In an effort to prevent future washouts, the Trail Conference will install an improved version of the former bridge. Features of the new bridge include elevating it by building new abutments further from the bank and extending its span from 25’ to 45’. The changes will raise the structure to a safe distance above the 500-year floodplain.
The new bridge will be made of fiber-reinforced polymer materials that provide the bridge system with a strength-to-weight ratio greater than steel. A similar trail bridge was recently installed over the Popolopen Creek at Bear Mountain (New Popolopen Trail Bridge).
Once installed, this bridge will reconnect the 150-mile long Highlands Trail as well as the only marked trail route between Long Pond Ironworks, the Hasenclever Iron Trail, and historic Ringwood Manor. Long Pond Ironworks and Ringwood Manor are both on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.
The Recreational Trails Program is a federal “user-pay/user-benefit” program that returns federal tax dollars collected on fuel used for non-highway recreation to the states for trail projects. It serves as the foundation for state trail programs across the country, leverages hundreds of millions of dollars of additional support for trails, encourages productive cooperation among trail users, and facilitates healthy outdoor recreation and associated economic activity in countless communities.