New Jersey's rails to trails program has taken another step forward with the purchase of nine miles of the old Lehigh & Hudson River Railway line in Sussex and Warren Counties, state officials announced Friday.http://www.njherald.com/secure_story/31 ... 090531.php
The newly-acquired right of way — which includes parcels in Andover Township, Andover Borough and Green, along with Allamuchy, White Township and Washington Township in Warren County — will serve as a link between the popular Sussex Branch and the Paulinskill trails, both of which were also created from abandoned railroad beds.
The $283,590 purchase was funded through the state'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," Environmental Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson said in a prepared statement. "This acquisition advances our goal of creating a network of open spaces throughout the Garden State."
The new public land will be managed as part of the Kittatinny Valley State Park in Andover Township. Pieces of the old right of way were already owned by Green Township, Allamuchy and The Nature Conservancy. The trail also fits into state plans for future connections between Allamuchy State Park and the Pequest Wildlife Management Area, officials said.
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, creating a 61-mile line connecting Belvidere 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 — a crucial element of the creameries that once dominated Sussex County's rural economy. After 1938, the railway carried a variety of other goods, including perishables, grain products, iron, steel, cement, lumber and petroleum.