Hosting Our Partners from China: Global Greenway Collaboration

by Dennis Markatos-Soriano

Today was one of those amazing days we all have every now and then that make us smile. It was a day marked by international cooperation — the kind our world needs to tackle global warming and other challenges effectively. Eighteen leaders of the greenway movement in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, visited the East Coast Greenway in Princeton this morning. They brought with them their stories of building hundreds of miles of greenways and parks and a curiosity about our emerging system of greenways from Canada to Florida.

As a host, I was as eager to hear about their developing trails and parks as they were to hear about the East Coast Greenway. They described their challenge to preserve natural spaces and routes less dominated by the growing number of cars and buildings accompanying their tremendous economic growth of the last three decades. I shared our

latest Annual Report and State of the Trail Report along with our maps of the New Jersey-Delaware section. Then we enjoyed a walk along the Delaware & Raritan (D&R) Canal towpath from the Turning Basin Park picnic tables where we sat. Mother Nature sure did cooperate, as it was mostly sunny and in the mid-70s F (low 2os Celsius).

I learned from these leaders of greenways throughout the Shenzhen region, with its population similar to New York City. Shenzhen is a port city located just north of Hong Kong, in southern China. It is one of the key export hubs of China.

Like the eastern United States, Shenzhen and its neighbors make up one of the biggest population and economic centers of the world. Collaboration among us is important to foster healthy people and a healthy environment worldwide. Without these two regions developing climate-friendly transportation systems that incorporate greenways, our world cannot reduce emissions enough to stop runaway global warming. So it was especially meaningful to me that we got together to make a great difference for our fellow world citizens and the generations to come.

Before they left to experience Philadelphia and Washington, DC, this afternoon, the group presented a generous ceremonial gift which we will display. I shared an East Coast Greenway cap with them along with our materials. And I look forward to an opportunity to visit Shenzhen in the future to see their excellent efforts first-hand.

Another great day on the East Coast Greenway…

Onwards to a Healthy and Sustainable World-


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