MORRIS COUNTY, NJ - This Saturday June 6th, National Trails Day, Morris County officials will open the newly-acquired Giralda Tract in Chatham Township, adjacent to Madison and introduce the public to a new two-mile walking/biking trail recently added to the property.
The 136-acre Giralda Tract will be open for the first time in more than a century. The general public will be able to walk freely on what was already a private estate when Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge purchased it in 1916. After her death in 1973, the property became part of the Giralda Farms Corporate Park, off limits to the public behind a fence and guarded gatehouse.
In December 2014, Chatham Township, the Morris County Park Commission, the Open Space Institute and other public, private and nonprofit entities raised $14.1 million to purchase the undeveloped portion of the former estate.
The acquisition was the largest purchase in the history of Morris County’s Open Space Trust Fund which provided $10 million of the purchase price, and it preserves one of the largest remaining tracts of open space in southeastern Morris County.
The Giralda Tract will become part of the popular Loantaka Brook Reservation.
To begin the celebration, Morris County Park Commission will host refreshments at 9:00am and commence a walk/bike ride starting at 9:30am at the Kitchell Pond portion of the Reservation, located on Kitchell Road between Spring Valley Road and Woodland Avenue on the border of Morris Township and Harding Township.
Once part of the Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge estate, the property features original carriage trials, rolling meadows, specimen trees, and a serene pond. The new trail will link with the popular Loantaka Brook trail on the east side of Woodland Avenue.
The entrance to the Giralda Trail is located along the west side of Woodland Road between Loantaka Way and St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center.
Visitors of all ages are invited to attend the brief outdoor presentation and begin enjoying this special open space protected and preserved by Chatham Township and Morris County Parks Commission.