RANDOLPH, NJ - Several weeks ago, the council provided feedback on the Trails Master Plan draft to the consultants from Greener by Design. This week, the council adopted the revised plan through combined action resolution and look forward to beginning the new projects.

Consultants Frank Pinto and Ben Spinelli pointed out that the plan is simply a guideline for the future depending on the budget. Projects may move around as the township receives grants for different projects.

“The big change [since the draft] really is to make sure that it’s clear that the recommendations of the actual construction of the trail segments was not prescriptive,” Spinelli began. “It has flexibility in the way you approach it, so you can choose from those possibilities based on your budget and financial capabilities.”

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Master plan documents usually propose changes to 10 years, but “we expanded the time that it covers out to 20 years due to the ambitious nature of the plan,” Spinelli said.

The flexibility of the plan also allows for unknowns, such as receiving easements from private landowners in the township, Pinto commented. “We developed [the plan] so you have the ability to adjust on the fly.”

The new Trails Master Plan proposes almost doubling the miles of trails throughout Randolph and connecting to trail systems across municipalities in the area.The council received a document that not only provides the initial cost for blazing each new trail, but also the cost and time associated with maintaining the trail going forward. To account for the possible increase in labor, the committee and consultants suggested a volunteer trail maintenance program, “that will take some of the burden off your personnel, but also gets the people invested into the system,” Spinelli said.

The Trails Master Plan committee will become a permanent committee, and members will be overseeing the implementation of the plan.

“I think it gives us a good feel for the future of the trails system and the maintenance of it,” added councilman Jim Loveys. “A big thing for me was maintaining what we have, first and foremost, and I think the wayfinding and the maintenance ideas in there are very valuable.

“One takeaway that I don’t need to tell all of you is that your residents love the trail system, and it’s a huge asset to the municipality,” Pinto concluded.