05
OCT
2017

Trail Takes First Step

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Initial phase of 40-mile system to debut

Michael Izzo @MIZZODR

The first leg of a 40-mile trail system around Lake Hopatcong will open next weekend at the Hopatcong Senior Center.

Volunteers prepare the Lake Hopatcong Trail which opens Sept. 23. (Photo: Courtesy of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation)

A ribbon cutting and short hike along the Lake Hopatcong Trail will be held at 10 a.m.  Sept. 23 at the senior center, 32 Lakeside Blvd. in Hopatcong.

The first phase of the trail runs through nine miles of Hopatcong, beginning along the Morris Canal Towpath across from Hopatcong State Park in Landing.

The phase includes 13 access points, winding through Hopatcong and ending near the Prospect Point Preserve in Jefferson, the planned start of the second phase.

The Lake Hopatcong Trail will encircle the lake once it is complete.

The completed first leg of the trail is a result of months of planning by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor from dozens of people, some bringing their own tools for the job.

Lake Hopatcong Foundation Trail Volunteer Keith Schilling nails a blaze on the Lake Hopatcong Trail (Photo: Courtesy of Lake Hopatcong Foundation)

Many volunteers received training in trailblazing and trail maintenance by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference before working on the multi-community project.

This first phase of the Lake Hopatcong Trail was funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program, through the state  Department of Environmental Protection.  Mapping and trail-marking for the project was completed by The Land Conservancy of New Jersey.

“We’re gratified by the broad support we’ve received for this regional project,” said Donna Macalle-Holly, acting executive director for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. “We’re especially grateful to the devoted and enthusiastic volunteers who joined us for weekly trail workdays throughout the spring and summer.  Their hard work prepared this first trail leg for all to enjoy.”

A second state DEP grant application is pending for the next phase of the trail in Jefferson.

Trail maps will be available at the ceremony and online at lakehopatcongfoundation.org.

Staff Writer Michael Izzo: 973-428-6636; mizzo@GannettNJ.com

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