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A public support group for the completion of the Henry Hudson Trail

What is The Monmouth Heritage Trail Inc.
Advocacy Support Group?


Monmouth Heritage Trail, Inc. is a non-profit group whose purpose is to "promote the preservation, protection and balanced use of the Henry Hudson Trail as a recreational trail for the benefit of the public." The group's mission is to gain the support of local municipalities, environmental, civic and community groups, business and homeowners. The mission also includes urging acquisition of the rail corridor by the County through purchase, "rail banking", or long-term recreational easement. We support dedicated funds for its development and maintenance as a rail-trail for non-motorized use by the public.

If you are interested in supporting the M.H.T., Inc./H.H.T.-S.E. efforts, please contact the Monmouth Heritage Trail,Inc. at P.O. Box 170, Wickatunk, N.J. 07765.

The Henry Hudson Trail runs for twelve miles. As of October 2005, the trail has been completed in two 5 mile segments. It begins at the Matawan train station and continues roughly parallel to Route 79 through Matawan Borough, Aberdeen, Marlboro and Freehold Townships before ending in Freehold Borough at the old Central Railroad of New Jersey train station. The newly opened southern segment goes from 537 in Freehold to Allen St. (near Rt. 520) in Marlboro. Then after a one mile gap its northern segment picks up at Station Rd. and travels to Church Street in Matawan. In the future the gap to the "old" Henry Hudson Trail that travels to Atlantic Highlands will be completed. The gap between Allen Street to Station Road will also be finished sometime in the future. The trail will pass through and have access to the Big Brook Park in Marlboro Township.

The rail line began in the 1860s as the Monmouth County Agricultural Railroad. The railroad carried produce, manufactured goods and "marl" fertilizer to the rail pier in Keyport. All service ceased in the 1950s. The property is owned by N.J. Transit and is under lease to the Monmouth County Park System.

Could The Railroad Return and Destroy The Henry HudsonTrail?

In March of 2005, we became aware of an effort by NJ Transit to restore railroad service to our recreational trail. Under the M.O.M. (Middlesex, Ocean, Monmouth) Railroad Restoration Plan, NJ Transit and Mercer County State Senator Peter Inverso reintroduced the Freehold to Matawan extension (Henry Hudson Trail Southern Extension) as a number one pick for a railroad. Although the Freehold to Matawn extension had been eliminated twice before sice it was too costly and too close to private property, Mr. Inverso insisted that it be re-included.

Now, due to so called "ridership numbers" NJ Transit is pursuing a course of action that could cause the Henry Hudson Trail to be in jeopardy. The trail is administered by the Monmouth County Park System and is leased for the next 18 years for the use as a trail. However at NJ Transits' request it could revert back to a railroad and Monmouth County would lose over 2.2 million dollars in trail construction. Monmouth and Ocean County governments are fully in support of the railroad running west through Jamesburg and connecting at Monmouth Junction where a railroad would connect with the Northeast Corridor that runs up from Washington to New York City. We at the Monmouth Heritage Trail support the "Monmouth Junction Route" and feel that the Freehold to Matawan route should stay The Henry Hudson Trail.

SAVE THE TRAIL, MOVE THE RAIL!

What Action Can I Take Now?
First: Join us! See the Monmouth Heritage Trail, Inc. membership paragraph below.

Second: Send an email to New Jersey Transit at momcomments@njtransit.com. You need to tell the NJ Transit folks that you want to see the Middlesex, Ocean, Monmouth (M.O.M.)Project go forward as a railroad project and to remove the Lakehurst (Freehold) to Matawan line as a possible railroad restoration project. You should also say that you support the existing Henry Hudson Trail as a recreational cycling and walking path.

Third: Send apositive e-mail to info@monmouthcountyparks.com. In this email say "Thank you" for the Henry Hudson Trail- Southern Extension. Also let them know how important it is to you to see it completed and preserved as a recreational facility for you and your family.

Facts About Rail-Trails

  • There are nearly 10,000 miles of rail-trails in the United States.
    More than 2,000 rail trails exist in 48 states.

  • New Jersey has 20 rail-trails distancing over 200 miles from Cape May to Sussex Counties. These include two rail-trails in Monmouth County: the Henry Hudson Trail and the Edgar Felix Bikeway.

  • Developing rail-trails from unused or abandoned railroad corridors is a cost-efficient way to create and add to area recreational resources without having to acquire expensive open property.

  • Rail-trails provide safe, quiet places for children and adults to walk, cycle, skate, ride horses and cross-country ski away from busy roads. When surfaced with macadam, rail-trails can be made accessible to people in wheelchairs.

  • Rail-trails bring economic benefits to the towns through which they pass, from development and maintenance jobs and money spent by trail users in nearby retail stores and attractions.

  • Realtors in some large cities in which rail-trails pass through residential neighborhoods claim that houses adjacent to a trail can sell for up to six percent more than houses farther away, because the rail-trail is viewed as a selling asset.

  • Privacy of adjacent home owners can be maintained by planting shrubs and installing fencing. Studies have proved that vandalism is nearly non-existent in residential areas.

How can I support the Monmouth Heritage Trail Inc.?
If you would like to help secure the legacy of the Monmouth Heritage Trail, we would be happy to accept your gift of $25.00. You will be entitled to a one-year membership. Additionally, newsletters are sent periodically to keep you updated on this worthwhile project. If you would like to receive the newsletter, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your contribution.

Make checks or money orders payable to: Monmouth Heritage Trail, Inc.


Send To:
Monmouth Heritage Trail Inc.
P.O. Box 170
Wickatunk, N.J. 07765

Henry Hudson Trail and Bike Path - Matawan Segment

Click here to view the Google map of the Henry Hudson Trail
(When you arrive at this page, zoom out to view entire trail. Also, click on icons on left side to view map areas.)

 

 
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