DEP Preserves More Miles
of Rail Trails
(06/11) TRENTON - Department of Environmental
Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced the purchase
of nine more miles of the former Lehigh & Hudson River Railway
Company's right of way for use as a public recreation trail. The
$283,590 purchase was made possible with voter-approved, constitutionally
dedicated funding through the DEP's Green Acres Program.
"New Jersey residents can now enjoy nearly 65 miles of former
railroad rights of way for a variety of recreational opportunities
including biking, hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing,"
Commissioner Jackson said. "What's more, this acquisition advances
our goal of creating a network of open spaces throughout the Garden
The acquisition includes parcels in Warren County's Allamuchy Township,
White Township and Washington Township and Sussex County's Andover
Township, Green Township and Andover Borough.
The newly acquired right of way will be managed as part of the
Kittatinny Valley State Park in Andover and will link the Sussex
Branch Rail Trail to the 26-mile Paulinskill Trail and portions
of the railroad right of way owned by Green Township, Allamuchy
Township and The Nature Conservancy. The new parkland also is an
integral part of future connections to Allamuchy State Park and
the Pequest Wildlife Management Area.
The Lehigh & Hudson River Railway was an important bridge line
between New England and several of the larger railroad systems of
the East. The railway was formed in 1882 through a consolidation
of the Warwick Valley Railroad Company and the Lehigh and Hudson
River Railroad Company, creating a 61-mile line from Belvidere,
N.J., to Greycourt, N.Y.
Built to handle farm products, the original railroad pioneered
the transport of milk to New York City and was the first to have
specially designed refrigerated milk cars. Once the line had been
extended west to Pennsylvania, anthracite and bituminous coal became
an important source of revenue. After 1938, the railway carried
a variety of other goods including perishables, grain products,
iron, steel, cement, lumber and petroleum.
The Green Acres Program was created in 1961 to meet New Jersey's
growing recreation and conservation needs. To date, Green Acres
has protected more than 595,000 acres of open space and developed
hundreds of public parks, bringing the statewide system of preserved
open space and farmland to more than 1.3 million acres.