RARITAN TWP, NJ - The annual Ride for the River, a group motorcycle ride through the scenic back roads of the watershed to raise funds for the Raritan Headwaters Association is being held this year in honor of late Raritan Township resident John Belle.

Belle loved motorcycles and the environment, especially the waterways and woods of the upper Raritan River watershed in Hunterdon, Somerset and Morris counties, according to a release.

In 2003, Belle and his wife Amy Greene, merged these two passions into the annual Ride for the River.

Sign Up for Flemington/Raritan Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Each spring, Belle would design the 60-mile route to showcase the beauty of the watershed and cross as many rivers and streams as possible.

"Not surprisingly, we ride on a lot of roads called River Road," he said in a 2017 interview, according to the release.

Over the years, the event has drawn hundreds of riders and raised more than $160,000 for the clean water mission.

Belle, of Raritan Township, died April 18 at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer. He was a civil engineer and environmental consultant who specialized in ecological restorations and recreational facility design.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, this year's ride will encourage motorcycle enthusiasts to ride independently on a route designed by Belle and donate in his name to RHA. The ride is being held in his honor.

"John was an incredible person and a devoted supporter of Raritan Headwaters," executive director Cindy Ehrenclou said in the release. "He put a lot of time and care into making Ride for the River a fun event that raised funds and awareness of our beautiful watershed region. John will be sorely missed, and we hope that his many friends and colleagues will take this opportunity to celebrate his life during the month of June."

The ride this year, which will be held continuously through the month of June, will be open to both motorcycle riders and car drivers.

For more information, visit https://www.raritanheadwaters.org/ride-for-the-river/.

The Raritan Headwaters Association is based in Bedminster.