The East Coast Greenway and the Liberty Water Gap Trail: Perfect Together

This week I wanted to highlight an excellent partnership we forged about a month ago between the East Coast Greenway, The Liberty Water Gap Trail and the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway who are three groups who have common goals and are now speaking with one voice. Steve Marano wrote a great article about our relationship which I have copied below.

The East Coast Greenway and the Liberty Water Gap Trail:  Perfect Together

(by Steve Marano, Liberty Water Gap Trail)

One of the critical remaining challenges facing the ECG is to establish a viable bike and walking path

between downtown Newark and the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City.  It turns out there is another major greenway project underway in New Jersey faced with exactly the same problem.  Together this has the makings of a great partnership.

The Liberty Water Gap Trail (LWGT) is a 156 mile multi-use biking and walking path that when complete will run the entire width of New Jersey, from the Hudson River in the east to the Delaware River in the west. It is the only trail in the U.S. boasting of two national landmarks as bookends:  the Delaware Water Gap and the Statue of Liberty.  Like the ECG, it is a ‘trail of trails’ linking five of the states most highly regarded trails: the Paulinskill Valley Trail, Sussex Branch Trail, Patriot’s Path, Highland’s Trail and the Lenape Trail.  And like the ECG, the LWGT offers travelers great diversity: from rural countryside in Sussex County to a ‘restaurant row’ along Ferry Street in Newark’s’ Ironbound Section.   The LWGT project was established in 1999 and is about 90% complete.  Only fifteen miles of trail remain:  that elusive link between Newark and Jersey City.  It is a formidable challenge.  There are few viable routes between the cities.  Highway and street conditions are not ideal.  And the complexities of working with multiple municipal, county and state agencies are daunting.  Yet recent developments offer great promise.

On October 15th, Steve Marano, Director of the LWGT Organizing Committee, met with Mike Oliva, Mike Dannemiller and fellow ECG New Jersey Chapter members at the group’s monthly meeting to discuss their mutual challenge.  The result – we are pleased to report – is a commitment to establish a common effort to complete the trail, and to create wherever possible a co-aligned route between and through the two cities.  There is even the possibility of creating combined signage, similar to what the ECG has established with the NYC Parks Department in the Bronx.

While the remaining work is formidable:  evaluating route options, meeting with city officials and local citizens groups, and installing signage along a fifteen mile path of city street and state highway,  both organizations are confident that the vision of a fully routed trail across the state of New Jersey will soon become a reality.

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