The New Jersey Conservation Foundation donated a 6.5-acre property along the proposed route of a Patriot’s Path extension to the Morris County Parks Commission.
The wooded property in Hanover Township includes about 1,400 feet of frontage along the Whippany River. It is off Parsippany Road south of Route 10 and was officially turned over to Morris County this week.
“This parcel was donated to us in December 1975, when Patriots’ Path was still in its formative stage,” explained Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “We have held onto it for the past 36 years as we watched Patriots’ Path grow. The time is right to turn it over to Morris County, and we’re pleased it’s in good hands.”
“This section of Patriots’ Path, previously preserved by the good work of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, overlooks the Whippany River and will provide local residents with direct access to this nationally recognized trail system,” said David Helmer, head of Morris County Parks. “Trail users will be able walk to Hanover Township’s Central Park and continue on to the Park Commission’s Frelinghuysen Arboretum.” The section of trail is near Morris Plains.
Patriots’ Path was the ambitious 1966 vision of Helen Fenske, New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s first director, together with with Russell Myers of Morris County Parks and Hugh Stearns of the Morristown Rotary Club. Their original plans called for a path along the Whippany River and its tributaries, linking many of Morristown’s parks and colonial and Revolutionary War sites.
In the early years, New Jersey Conservation Foundation was the lead agency advocating for Patriots’ Path, with a full-time Patriots’ Path director in the early 1970s. Later, Morris County took over as lead agency in acquiring land and building the Path.
Today, Patriot’s Path is a well-known and well-used trail system traversing both suburban and rural areas. It is not just one linear trail, but many branches and offshoots, some connecting with trail systems in neighboring counties. Some sections of trail are footpath-only, while bicycles and horses are allowed on others.
Among the parks and historic sites connected by Patriots’ Path are Historic Speedwell Village, the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Fosterfields Living Historical Farm, Lewis Morris County Park, Morristown National Historical Park (Jockey Hollow), Cooper Gristmill, Chubb Park, Schooley’s Mountain County Park, Willowwood Arboretum and Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center. For information about and maps of Patriots’ Path, go to http://www.morrisparks.net/aspparks/patpathmain.asp .