Notes from the Field: Improving the Lenape Trail
The 34-mile Lenape Trail connects the best of Essex County outdoors by connecting 12 communities.
On the evening of Nov. 2, the Trail Conference hosted the first Lenape Trail Gathering, held at the Robert J. O’Toole Community Center in Cedar Grove, N.J. The event, co-sponsored with the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, celebrated the latest improvements to this unique urban trail, created by Al Kent over 40 years ago.Lenape Trail is an urban/suburban network that ties together 12 communities in Essex County. As one of the Lenape Trail field managers, I’ve been following the trail’s yellow blazes from one park and township to another, meeting some amazing people along the way. The dinner was the first time we were able to get so many of the trail’s stewards in one location, and it made me appreciate once again the great diversity of landscape, wildlife, and people connected by the Lenape Trail.
Winding through parks like Branch Brook and Brookdale—both planned by Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of New York City’s Central Park—and providing access to the broad, scenic overlooks and quiet woods of Eagle Rock, South Mountain, Mills, and Hilltop reservations, the Lenape Trail offers green respite in one of the most densely populated counties in the country. All along the way you’ll find several small gems, like the Nutley Historic Museum, making the Lenape Trail a rich resource to get outdoors and engage with nature and local history.
The dinner brought together trail maintainers and members of local park conservancies, walking groups, and historical societies to celebrate the latest improvements to the Lenape Trail, made possible by a generous grant from Partners for Health. These upgrades include: a full inventory and assessment of trail conditions; increased access with new signage in four parks; and an up-to-date map available in digital and print formats.
In the Works
To ensure this unique trail remains accessible to all for many years to come, we need the help of people who believe in the power of connecting with nature—people like you. The Lenape Trail offers a wide range of opportunities for volunteering. Contact Peter Dolan ([email protected]) to learn more.