Morris County Freeholders approve new trail projects
More Than 17 Miles of Trails Establish with Open Space Funds in Five Years
MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders Monday approved $619,058 in funding for three recreational trail projects in three towns, adding nearly three miles to a growing county trail system that began five years ago.
“More than 17 miles of trails have now been established in the five years since voters approved the use of Open Space Trust Fund dollars to establish trail systems throughout Morris County,” Deputy Freeholder Director Stephen Shaw said. “We’ve witnessed extensive use of these trails and other outdoor resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest addition to the trails continues the investment we have been making in the quality of life we want to preserve and enhance in this county.”
It was among the final official acts taken last night by the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose name will change with all 21 county freeholder boards effective Jan. 1, 2021 under a state law that establishes the boards as “county commissioners.” The board will not reconvene again until its annual reorganization meeting on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, when it will become officially known as the Morris County Board of Commissioners.
The new trail projects, recommended earlier this month by the Morris County Trail Construction Grant Advisory Committee, include a second phase of efforts to add 1.46 miles of trail in Wharton. They also include adding nearly a mile of trail in Roxbury Township linking Veterans Park and Emmans Greenway Trail, and completing a fourth phase of trail work to add nearly a half mile to the Bee Meadow Pond Nature Trail in Hanover Township.
Funding for trail projects is derived from Morris County’s voter-approved Open Space & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, which was established in 1992 and subsequently modified with voter approval in 2002 to establish a Historic Preservation Fund. In 2014, voters approved a ballot question by a margin of 3 to 1 to modify the fund again, this time allowing trail development as an allowable use for a portion of the trust fund money.
The first trail grants were awarded in 2016 to establish 4.24 miles of trails. Since then, an estimated $3.3 million has been dedicated to establish 17.16 miles of trails.