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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2006

Contact: Darlene Yuhas (609) 984-1795
Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994

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 State."

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.

 

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Last Updated: March 3, 2006