Friday, July 26, 2013

Putting the Capital to Coast Trail on the Map

Since 2000 Fred Lockenmeyer has pursued his dream of connecting the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Trenton with the Edgar Felix Bike Path in Manasquan by forging a trail through the rural/suburban swath of Southern Mercer and Monmouth Counties. A trail located in the geographic center of the state that will be known as the Capital to Coast Trail.

While both counties have been developing robust trail networks within their borders (especially Monmouth). The long and vaguely defined Capital to Coast Trail has sadly been a low priority. Unlike the Monmouth Heritage Trail and the Delaware and Raritan Canal there is no abandoned right of way to to take advantage of. The construction of the trail will have to be tackled in small chunks. A strategy that has been used by the Lawrence and Hopewell Trail Corporation to piece together the nearby Lawrence Hopewell Trail.

Fortunately the corridor is blessed with a string of state and county open space lands and roads with very wide rights of way. A basic alignment has been mapped by both county planning departments and perhaps
most importantly the Mercer County portion connects directly with the Circuit. The Circuit is listed as a major regional bicycle and pedestrian project in the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's Connectons 2040 Long Range Plan, which puts the regional trail network on the same high priority list as major major highway and transit projects.

What can you do?

The simplest and easiest thing to do is to "Like" the Friends of the Capital to Coast Trail on Facebook. This will show your support for the trail and keep you up to date on future development as well as informing you about exploratory walks, organizational meetings and trail maintenance events.

Secondly you want to help ensure that funding is readily available for planning and construction, in Mercer County this means supporting Circuit Commitment Campaign. The Campaign seeks to replenish the 10 Million Regional Trails fund that has helped build sections of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail among others in the Delaware Valley Region of South Jersey.

For the Capital to Coast Trail will require a dedicated group of volunteers to take action and engage the community. The reward would be the ability to bike or walk across some of the most pleasant terrain in the state as easily as it is to drive through it on I-195 today.


Anonymous said...

im trying to find out more information about this group. can you please send me information on how large it is, is it charity taking donations? it seems to be very obscure as far as its connection to nj - is it in nj and where does it meet?

Anonymous said...

I say follow the East Coast Greenway model and put some of it on the road (quiet roads) so that a signpost route exists. Then momentum for improvements to take it off-road will hopefully follow, at least in areas that are being developed/repaved.

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