Community News

Maine-to-Florida urban trail celebrates 25 years
7/27/2017 Volume XLVII, No. 30

The renowned Appalachian Trail, the world’s longest hiking-only footpath, stretches 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia, including 72 miles through northern New Jersey.

Did you know that the Appalachian Trail has an urban equivalent for pedestrians and bicyclists?

It’s called the East Coast Greenway and it extends 3,000 miles from northern Maine to the Florida Keys, including nearly 100 miles in New Jersey.

Right now, about a third of the East Coast Greenway – more than 900 miles – consists of protected traffic-free trails. Moving the other 2,000-plus miles off public streets and away from traffic is the ambitious goal of the nonprofit East Coast Greenway Alliance.

“What we want is to develop a path that’s safe and available to everyone, from little kids to their great-grandparents,” says Dennis Markatos-Soriano, executive director of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its trail-building effort.

The East Coast Greenway crosses through 450 communities in 15 states - including Boston, New York, Newark, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Richmond, Charleston and Miami.  “The whole route is complete and people have bicycled the whole thing,” noted Markatos-Soriano.

The idea for the East Coast Greenway was hatched at a bicycle conference in 1991, and the following year a group of cyclists took a month-long tour of the proposed route from Boston to Washington. The ride drew a lot of attention and many elected officials endorsed the idea. The concept was later expanded to encompass the entire East Coast of the United States, from the Canadian border to Key West.

One of the first links in the greenway route was New Jersey’s Delaware & Raritan Canal towpath, part of the D&R Canal State Park. The 36-mile towpath route is still one of the longest off-road stretches in the greenway.

The rest of the New Jersey section – which runs between the Hudson and Delaware rivers, from Jersey City to Trenton – includes a patchwork of off-road trails, including the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, Newark Riverfront Trail, Lenape Park Path in Union County and Middlesex Greenway.

The New Jersey section also includes an alternate route along the Delaware River from Trenton to Camden, which connects to the Circuit Trails, a regional trail network in the Greater Philadelphia area.

The challenge in New Jersey, according to Bruce Donald, tri-state coordinator of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, is to build off-road connectors between existing paths. “This is the most densely-populated section of the East Coast Greenway with the exception of Manhattan,” he points out. The urban sections along the Hudson River waterfront and through the Meadowlands are especially challenging, as the area is heavily developed and industrial.

Similar infrastructure investments are needed up and down the East Coast to realize the vision of biking from Maine to Florida without traffic.

The East Coast Greenway has been described as one of the nation’s largest public infrastructure projects, requiring a total investment of $3 billion: $1 billion already spent and $2 billion in additional funding. A single mile of paved asphalt trail can cost up to a million dollars.

The result will be a traffic-free path located within five miles of 25 million people, contributing to a sense of community, culture of health and a deeper connection with nature. Most users of the greenway won’t actually bike thousands of miles, but can exercise and commute within their local communities.

“We know there are so many benefits compared to the costs,” said Markatos-Soriano, who envisions pedestrians and bicyclists using the path for recreation, traveling to work and visiting shops and restaurants that spring up along the route.

An estimated 10 million people currently use the East Coast Greenway each year, and Markatos-Soriano believes that number could grow tenfold. “Our vision is to be the most popular park in the country,” he said.

So when will the East Coast Greenway be finished? Not anytime soon. “We’ve made so much progress in the first 25 years, we’re saying why not finish in the next 25 years,” Markatos-Soriano said.

To learn more about the East Coast Greenway and its progress, visit the East Coast Greenway Alliance website at www.greenway.org. Be sure to check out the mapping tool and the 25th anniversary annual report.

As part of the 25th anniversary celebration, the alliance is sponsoring an East Coast River Relay that will pass through New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia in September. You can find the latest updates at www.greenway.org/events?month=&categories=east+coast+river+relay&search=

And for more about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, go to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at info@njconservation.org.

POSTS

Life, liberty ... and a clean environment

New Jersey's aging water infrastructure

The land before time: NJ's Kittatinny Ridge & Valley

While bats hibernate, scientists hope for survival

Natural Resource Damages fund new parks and preserves

Save menhaden, a humble but mighty fish

Ballot question approval would lock in environmental funds

Sandy Millspaugh: Conservation Trailblazer

Extreme hurricanes highlight concerns about climate change

'Head start' for corn snakes

Protecting the Highlands - it's the water

When you could walk from New Jersey to Morocco

A bold plan for the planet

New Jersey's energy future at a crossroads

Tiny insect will have a huge impact on New Jersey

Protect New Jersey's Pine Barrens

Enjoy New Jersey's forests!

Maine-to-Florida urban trail celebrates 25 years

Rare plants and animals need help!

Ban offshore drilling and seismic testing off NJ coast!

Summertime and the digging is easy

Is the elusive bobcat here to stay?

NJ water supply plan rings alarm bells

NJ's Piedmont: Formed by volcanoes and erosion

Defend public health and safety in state budget

'Magical' early 17-year cicadas

June and open space: Perfect together

Hit the trails on June 3, National Trails Day

Socializing with nature

Preserve land - and state's in lieu of taxes program

New Jersey's 'marl' pits yield dinosaur discoveries

Vernal pools: Now you see 'em, now you don't

State targets illegal dumpers in parks and forests

Former governors and elected leaders stand up for environment

Join CSAs to support local farms, save money, eat better

Weather extremes may be New Jersey's new normal

Bald eagles and ospreys rebound in New Jersey

Pine Barrens prescribed fires: A renewal force

Take a walk on the bottom of the sea!

Energy efficiency saves money and land - and creates jobs!

The Pines of March

Trees are more social than you think!

New Jersey's geological 'layer cake'

Keeping the 'great' in Paterson's Great Falls

Some good news!

Take action to defend and protect land and water

Interested in ecology? Become a Rutgers Environmental Steward

2016 wins and losses for New Jersey's land and water

Kick off a healthy New Year with First Day hike

Energy infrastructure: the new sprawl

ARCHIVE

November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011

CLICK FOR RECENT POSTS


     videos     
     events      video     
     coupon           photos     
WITH THIS COUPON
We are pleased to include additional services at no cost to your community, including email blasts, online payments, and ACH debit transfer.
Association Management Consultants Corp.
65 W. Street Road
Warminster, PA 18974
267-460-0021 x 6
http://www.amcconline.com/
Printed online at BucksCountyAlive.com.

-Print Coupon

©2017 BucksCountyAlive.com. All rights reserved.
Redistribution of coupons in printed or electronic form is prohibited.