Please join us in this momentous occasion, celebrating the grand opening of the all new Marble Hill trail system at Lopatcong Park!
As Chairman of the Warren County Board of Recreation Commission and President of Metrotrails, I am proud to announce the completion of the all new Marble Hill Trail System, which includes mines, overlooks, and more!
The opening at noon is an open public event, so all are welcome to attend regardless of RSVP numbers here. Maps will be given to all in attendance.
Participants will have the option of joining in one, two, or three parts of the event on this day.
Lopatcong Township Park is located at 9 Wildew Ave, Phillipsburg NJ. This is the park where the pool is located. Enter the park and keep to the right. At the far right parking lot, near the ball fields is a kiosk at the paved pathway, pictured here. This is where we will begin the hikes, and where the celebration will occur.
The first part hike (shown as a separate event here) will be a short loop with a bit of out and back, starting at 9 am. We'll follow the new Lopatcong Connector Trail, constructed by Jillane and I with mowing help from the township, on up to the Warren Highlands Trail. We'll turn right and follow it out to the newest section, rerouted from the previous year to the fields. It'll be an out and back to the former site of the Harmony School House. There is a nice panoramic view not to miss!
We'll make our way back from here probably backtracking a bit, but also on a utility line with another view.
At noon there will be the celebration. In attendance will be at least two Freeholders, Director of Warren County Land Preservation Mr. Corey Tierney, Director of Planning Mr. David Dech, and Assistant Director of State Parks Mr. John Trontis, all outstanding and passionate individuals, as well as others. Directly following the celebration, I will be leading the group, which may be larger at this point. We'll again follow the Lopatcong Connector Trail to Warren Highlands Trail, then the new yellow trail down to a new parking lot and kiosk. We'll continue on the yellow trail which loops back to Warren Highlands Trail a little further on. We'll then follow Warren Highlands to a lovely seasonal vista of "Little Water Gap" and St. Anthony's Nose in PA. After that, we follow the Iron Mine Trail to the Fulmer Mine, another great little spot.
I am going to try to organize a few more surprises for this hike, but it's yet to be seen how it will happen. I will update more when everything is in order.
The following is the official press release:
The County of Warren is pleased to announce that various improvements to the Marble Hill Natural Area Preserve have been completed and that a “Grand Re-Opening” will be held at the Lopatcong Municipal Park (off Belvidere Road) on Sunday April 14th at 12:00pm. The 270+ acre preserve is owned by the County and adjoins over 100 acres of state open space and over 100 acres of municipal parkland. Visitors are invited to attend the ceremony and explore the property. Michael Helbing, the Warren County Board of Recreation Chairman and volunteer who helped construct most of the trail system, will also lead a guided tour of the preserve.
With the help of the state, township and volunteers, Warren County has cleared and blazed nearly 4 miles of new trails, installed multiple informational kiosks and interpretive signs, and created additional parking areas along River Road and Marble Hill Road. “The Martins Jacoby Watershed Association and the National Parks Service deserve special thanks for their generous grant which made all this possible,” noted Dave Dech, Warren County Planning Director. “Although this property had been preserved for quite some time, not too many people knew about it. This is a terrific resource for the public to enjoy and we hope they will come visit.
Situated along Delaware River just north of Phillipsburg, the preserve's contiguous forestland provides coverage for neo-tropical song birds and other migratory song birds that use the river as a flyway during migration. Visitors are invited to follow newly established trails through dense thickets of rhododendron which are particularly colorful in late spring and early summer.
Excavated in the late 1800s for iron ore, they may notice various rock walls and other interesting artifacts - including the Fulmer Mine (or "Ice Cave"). One of the more interesting features on this site, the floor of this cave is often covered with icy stalagmite during the winter months.
Atop Marble Hill and along the main trail, visitors are encouraged to stop and enjoy the Delaware River Vista which overlooks the narrows north of Phillipsburg and Easton (known to loggers who worked the Delaware River as the "Little Water Gap"). Across the gap is Gollub Park, home to a rock outcrop known as St. Anthony's Nose.
“The main trail through Marble Hill is a western section the Warren Highlands Trail. A cooperative effort between the NYNJ Trail Conference, Metrotrails, the Highlands Project, and other conservation organizations, as well as the state and local governments, this trail will extend over 150 miles from Storm King Mountain on the Hudson River. From Marble Hill to Allamuchy Township, Warren County will contain 32 miles of the trail,” explains Helbing.
“Many people don’t realize this, but thanks to continuing Freeholder support, Warren County owns and maintains nearly 1,800 acres of open space,” adds Corey Tierney, Warren County Land Preservation Director. “The improvements to Marble Hill are part of a broader county-wide effort to make our nature preserves more accessible to the public. With the support of organizations like Martins Jacoby and a committed group of volunteers, we can make these areas more enjoyable without straining the budget. I encourage anyone who is interested in building and maintaining trails to contact my office. With your help, we can really make a little go a long way.” The Land Preservation Department can be reached at (908) 453-2650.