The most underutilized asset in Summit is the Passaic River. It is 80 miles long, rising from the center of Mendham. It meanders around the Great Swamp and flows through Long Hill Township into Berkeley Hts., New Providence and Summit. It forms the border between Essex and Union County.
The Passaic was one of the Nation’s most polluted rivers in the 1970’s. Today, it provides drinking water for 3 million people. It also happens to be quite beautiful. Earlier in the year a committee was formed in Summit to study how we could create a greenway or walking path along the border of the river to provide some very pleasant passive recreation. I’m privileged to serve on this committee. On July 23rd, Rick Matais of our Department of Community Services led a walk along the riverbank from Chatham to Summit. We saw first hand the beauty that is literally in our backyard.
Most of us are familiar with Stanley Park in Summit but Shepard Kollack Park in Chatham is just over Rt. 24 on Henderson Drive, there is a boat launch and a path follows the river. The City and Union County has property along the river that could be utilized for a canoe or kayak launch in Summit. Wouldn’t it be great to be within a few minutes drive of that kind of experience? Let’s see what we can do to enhance recreational experiences along our beautiful Passaic.