RANDOLPH, NJ -  Heritage Trail Extension was among the 13 trail projects that were recommended for approval under the new Morris County Trail Construction Grant Program.

Grants were also recommended for  Historic Riverside Trail in Chatham Borough, Muriel Hepner Bridge Replacemnt in Denville, Stobaeis-Briarwood Trail in Florham Park, Bayne Park/Kirby Municipal Campus Trail in Harding, Matthew G. Kantor Park Trail in Long Hill, Scott Farm Perimeter Loop Walking Trail in Mendham Borough, Town Center Trail Construction in Mine Hill, Reilly Field Look and Crossover Trail in Montville, Jockey Hollow Top Preserve Accessible Trail in Morris Township,Footes Pond Wood Trail in Morristown, Emmans Greenway in Roxbury and South Branch-Drakestown Preserve Connector in Washington Township.

A special Freeholder Board-appointed committee this week recommended funding 13 trail projects in 13 towns across Morris County at a cost of $661,000. The new program was approved by the governing board last spring. The funding comes from a portion of the county's existing voter approved Morris County Preservation Trust Fund.

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“This is a very wise investment in the improvement of our county’s recreational opportunities, which improves the quality of life for all residents, making Morris County a better place to live and work and locate a business,’’ said Freeholder Christine Myers, who is the board’s liaison to Planning and Preservation.

The new program will award grants annually to qualified applicants from the county’s 39 municipalities. New recreational trails will enhance recreational opportunities for all Morris County residents. 

“It was impressive to see so many towns submit applications for trail construction grant during this inaugural grant round,’’ said Morris County Park Commission Executive Director Dave Helmer. “As a result, residents of Morris County will have an additional 6-miles of trail to walk, run, hike, bike and horseback ride on, in the next few years as these projects are completed.”

The new program will operate on a reimbursement basis. Municipal applicants are limited to one request per funding cycle. The program will rely upon municipalities to provide planning and design of new trails and to contribute a 20 percent financial or in-kind match for the trail construction projects.

Permissible Uses and Projects, include:

  • Construction of new trails of various types (motorized and non-motorized)
  • Rehabilitation and restoration of existing trails damaged by significant acts of nature
  • Construction and installation of trailside and trailhead facilities (only as part of new construction)

Funding is considered only if the land on which a trail is to be constructed is:

  • Located in Morris County
  • Permanent preserved public parkland or private land with dedicated easements for public recreation use
  • On land with a permanent easement for public trail/recreational provided to the municipality

The minimum grant amount is $5,000. The maximum grant award limit is defined as “no one award shall receive more than 60 percent of the funds available during each year’s funding cycle”. 

The freeholders are expected to formally vote to approve the grants at their Dec. 14 meeting.