It's been ten years since Al Kent conceived of the Liberty Water Gap Trail.
And it is a vision that remains unique within America to this day:
- a trail connecting two national landmarks at each end:
the Delaware Water Gap and the Statue of Liberty;
- a linear park running from border to border that showcases
some of the state's most interesting natural and historic heritage;
- a multi-use path providing a literal cross-section of
urban, suburban and country life across New Jersey.
The Liberty Water Gap Trail is nearly 90% complete.
From its western terminus near Columbia on the Delaware River
to its current eastern terminus in downtown Newark, it is essentially
entirely blazed along this 140 mile stretch.
All that essentially remains is to lay trail markers along a 15-17 mile
stretch of urban street and parkland from Washington Park in Newark to
Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
A lot of progress has been made recently.
Over the past several months, we have been working with state,
county and local officials to fill in the gaps and fulfill Al's vision.
- Liberty State Park has given its approval to establish the LWGT
along the entire route laid out by Al Kent;
- the Jersey City Division of City Planning has completed
their recommendation for the route through all of Jersey City;
- we have forged close alliances with the East Coast Greenway
and the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, both of which will
become part of the family of trails;
- and we are now reaching out to city officials in Newark and
Kearny, and the NJ Department of Transportation to complete
the LWGT across the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers and through
the Ironbound section of Newark to where it will link with
the Lenape Trail, the current easternmost terminus.
We are so tantalizingly close, but there are still many weeks
(and probably months) of hard work to hash out the remaining
details and obtain official endorsement for the trail.
The plan is to obtain endorsement not just from appropriate
officials in Essex and Hudson County, but also to officially
establish statewide recognition among all of the municipalities
and counties through which the LWGT passes.
Those of us who have chosen to take on this enormous and
mostly thankless burden are very few in number. Al Kent
has been extremely supportive and helpful, and at the
age of 85 remains extraordinarily active on the trail itself.
Duncan Douglas, another of the LWGT's founding members, has
helped to forge inroads and contact with officials and allies
across the state. Our allies in the East Coast Greenway and
Hudson River Waterfront Walkway are helping us to gain the support of city and county officials.
But they are not enough.
If you - like me - believe in the unique value that the Liberty Water Gap Trail has to offer;
if you - like me - believe that multi-use greenways and linear parks are concepts whose time has come;
if you - like me - believe that establishing walking and bicycle paths right in our own backyard represents
a much-needed and welcome way to get off the couch, out of the house, and active again...
then join us.
Send an e-mail to me here by using the 'Contact Us' link.
There's plenty to do. Whether it's gaining support from public officials,
public relations, website design, trail blazing, trail maintenance... you name it,
we can probably use the help.
Join the effort. I think it's time to fulfill Al's vision while he's still alive and well.
The Liberty Water Gap Trail Steering Committee