Saturday, December 5, 2009

Expanded Trail Network at Six Mile Run

The Six Mile Run Reservoir Site trail system has seen change and improvement this year thanks to the hard work and dedication provided by volunteers from the Six Mile Run chapter of JORBA (Jersey Off Road Biking Association). Working closely with park staff, the "two Jasons" - volunteer coordinators and co-leaders - reworked, improved and, with the help of many volunteers, blazed approximately twenty miles of multi-use trails at the Six Mile Run site. This is a considerable addition to the former trail network that offered about 6-7 miles of trails for public use.

Regular park users will notice several changes including the discontinuation of the former yellow trail, alterations to the red trail and blue trails and the addition of a new orange trail. The old yellow trail was often inaccessible and/or overly muddy due to its location in the low lying flood plain section of the run. As a result a decision was made to close that portion of the trail network. In addition the former red trail that followed the elevated forested tree line was suffering from erosion while access to the trail head from Canal Road had become a safety issue as traffic has steadily increased in the area over the years. So the red trail was reworked to avoid the eroded section and the new trail head is now located at the parking area on Jacques Lane.

While the Park works to get a new trail map published for public use, JORBA volunteer Rob Blash has produced a map that users can download and print from the organization's site (click on map image below to access that PDF file).

The park staff is pleased with the outcome of this overhaul to the site's trail system and happy to have established such a good working partnership with JORBA. The work and dedication their volunteers have put in at the site has been invaluable! Thanks to their efforts, an extended trail network at Six Mile Run is now open for use to the public.

Click here to learn more about the Six Mile
Run trail system.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Life for the Barracks

It was September 1999 when Hurricane Floyd blew through New Jersey. Towns along the D & R Canal were inundated with water from New Brunswick to Trenton and many sites along the way were devastated. Among them was the well-loved "Muletenders Barracks" in Griggstown. The building suffered major damage as the flood waters rose covering the entire first floor of the structure. That fall the building was closed and has remained so ever since.

Local Griggstown residents, friends organizations and park users were determined to see the building restored and mounted a campaign to that end. Letters were written, articles were published and phone calls galore were made and although ten years have passed, those determined efforts will soon be rewarded.

This past spring the daunting effort to re-purpose the heavily damaged building was begun. The interior was gutted and a new open, more flood resistant interior began to take shape. A concrete floor was poured, electrical outlets raised and all HVAC systems were moved from the crawlspace basement up to the second floor. The end result will no doubt please all those who dreamed of someday seeing the Barracks resurrected.

Work is still i
n progress but soon the contractors will complete their part and the building that has stood on the Griggstown Causeway since the canal's construction (and perhaps longer) will stand ready to begin the next chapter of its story. The Park hopes to celebrate this milestone sometime next year with a proper "coming-out" party so make sure to check back to our site often for updates, details and news!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From Transportation Corridor to Scenic Byway

When the "Ribbon of Life: The Delaware and Raritan Canal at 175" photo exhibit reaches Prallsville Mill on August 30, it will have a new component. A video presentation of current and historic pictures will be a part of the exhibit. Local photographer Ted Settle has photographed historic and natural aspects of the D&R Canal from Bulls Island to Trenton and from Bordentown to New Brunswick. His photos will be exhibited alongside historic views of the canal. View a preview here:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dine Out For The Canal

Dine Out for the Canal is a fundraiser arranged by the D&R Canal Watch in celebratio of the canal’s 175th anniversary. The event enables participants to show their support for the park by simply eating out! On two Tuesday and Thursday evenings this summer, twelve generous restaurants in towns along the D&R Canal will donate 15% of the meal cost directly to the park. Simply bring a “Dine Out” coupon to one of the participating restaurants on the specified dates and help the canal while enjoying a great meal!

June 16 & 25 and July 7 & 23
Bell’s Tavern, Lambertville, NJ
Eno Terra, Kingston, NJ
Erini, Ewing, NJ
It’s Nutts, Titusville, NJ
Pauline’s Anna Rose Restaurant, West Trenton, NJ
Rocky Hill Inn, Rocky Hill, NJ
South Side Grille, South Bound Brook, NJ

June 25 and July 23
Lambertville Station, Lambertville, NJ

July 7
Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse, Kingston, NJ
Hamilton Grill Room, Lambertville, NJ
Meil’s Restaurant, Stockton, NJ
Stockton Inn, Stockton, NJ

For more information download the event flyer here

Access and Print your coupons here

“Ribbon of Life: Delaware & Raritan Canal at 175”

This year, the Delaware & Raritan Canal will celebrate its 175th anniversary. To celebrate, the D&R Greenway Land Trust, in partnership with the D&R Canal Commission and the Delaware River Mill Society, has curated an exhibition entitled “Ribbon of Life: Delaware & Raritan Canal at 175.” The exhibit includes historic images selected from the archives of the D&R Canal Commission and contemporary artwork depicting canal images. The historical exhibition includes sections depicting hand-colored photographic views of the towns and places of interest along the canal between 1871 and 1924, as well as a photographic collection of canal boats. Interspersed through the exhibition is contemporary canal artwork composed by regional artists who have been inspired by the canal’s beauty.

The exhibit is on display at the Johnson Education Center, located at 1 Preservation Place (off Rosedale Road near Princeton), from May 18, 2009 to August 14, 2009. Beginning August 30, the exhibit will be on display at the Prallsville Mills in Stockton, NJ through September 30. Please contact the Delaware Mill Society at 609/397.3586 for hours and further information.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


What a great way to help celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the D&R Canal by getting out there and monitoring one of its most precious natural resources – the birds - the ones that reside year round - those that winter here, those passing through for the breeding season and those dropping by on their way north and south in their migration.

So what is a “Big Day” anyway? It is ONE big fun day of birding with a little extra challenge. For our purpose, we plan to do an inventory of all bird species seen along the canal on ONE day and see what we come up with. We hope to cover the entire length of the main canal, feeder and adjacent park lands. We will need volunteers to help lead field trips that day and to participate in different segments along the Canal. Saturday, May 2, 2009 has been designated as the “D & R Big Day”. This is a time that likely will represent the greatest number of species based on migration and breeding patterns. Please mark your calendars. No one needs to be an expert – just a pair of eyes and the desire for a fun day! If this has piqued your interest, please contact Arlene Oley ( or the park naturalist, Stephanie Fox ( at Park Headquarters.

There will also be other field trips through the seasons with dates to be announced so make sure to keep checking the park website for updates. Please look for an upcoming trip in late February/early March.

Please join us !!!

175 Years & Counting: Delaware & Raritan Canal, 1834 -2009

On June 25, 1834 the Delaware and Raritan Canal was officially opened for public use. After a journey of several days that began in Bordentown, Governor Peter Vroom and entourage arrived via mule-drawn canal boat in New Brunswick to a 24-gun salute and parade. The group enjoyed a grand dinner that evening to celebrate the opening of this highly anticipated modern transportation system. It was expected that the new waterway would be a boon to the state's economy by providing new business, commerce and transportation opportunities. In April of 1834, a few months prior to the June ceremony, the Hunterdon Democrat published these enthusiastic words regarding the nearly completed D & R Canal:

Those who are partial to this mode of traveling cannot fail to be pleased with this route. The scenery from Lambertville to Trenton is striking and beautiful with a fine view of the Delaware River, and passing through a fertile and well-improved region of country. The appearance of the whole country through which the Feeder runs is truly imposing, and a great part of it romantic and beautiful. The whole of this magnif- icent work will soon be completed; its enterprising and liberal advocates will be remembered with pride by Jerseymen, especially those who were mainly instrumental in its accomplishments will stand conspicuous, and will be ever regarded as benefactors in their country.

Clearly, 19th century New Jerseyans appreciated the visionaries responsible for the canal project and welcomed this newaddition to their state. Then, as now, the D & R Canal was valued. Today of course the D & R is no longer a working transportation canal. Instead it has successfully transitioned to become a beloved park, recreation destination, water supply and historic site. To the 21st-century visitor and regular park user, it is no less appreciated. Our yearly visitation numbers stand as a testament to the canal’s continued favor as the D & R Canal State Park is among the state's most heavily used parks.

This year will mark a Delaware and Raritan Canal milestone. It will be the 175th anniversary of the waterway's opening! A celebration of that landmark is in order. A committee has been formed and its members are currently busy planning a year-long canal commemoration the details of which can be followed throughout the year on the park website. While opportunities to learn about the waterway’s history and contribution to the state will be offered, it is the committee’s goal to showcase everything the D & R Canal State Park has to offer. Visitors will have a plethora of programming options and events from which to choose from hiking, biking, boating, birding and horseback riding to guided history and nature walks, art/photography shows, lectures, family picnics, camping/outdoor equipment expo and concerts.

To start the year off, the Delaware River Mill Society will host “175 Year Celebration of the D & R Canal Art Show” from January 19th to the 31st. The show will be open to the public daily from 12:00 - 4:00 pm. This artistic look at the canal will be mounted in the historic Prallsville Mills in Stockton and will feature contemporary artist's impressions and renderings of the waterway today. The show will include paintings, drawings, photographs and three dimensional work inspired by the historic sites and natures beauty along the feeder and main-stem canal. For those who want to showcase their D & R artwork or photography should contact the Delaware River Mill Society at (609) 397-3586 for full submission details.

In addition to this kickoff art show and the usual programming offerings, there will be several unique happenings offered during the course of the year. In the spring park users will have an opportunity to show their support of the canal by taking part in an ambitious task - Hands Along the Canal. This bold undertaking will attempt to line thousands of hand-holding park users along the historic towpath from Landing Lane to Trenton’s Cadwalader Park. Sponsored by the East Coast Greenway, Hands Along the Canal is scheduled to take place at 10:00 am on Saturday, May 9th. Those of you who love and use the D & R should make sure to mark your calendars, pick a favored location and plan to be a part of this historic show of support for the park. Keep checking for updates and event details.

Also in May canal aficionados, park users and all others will have an opportunity to meet the authors who have been inspired to research and write about the canal era and the D & R. The Canal Authors Extravaganza will be held on Saturday, May 16th in Griggstown from 12:00 to 3:00 pm (exact location still to be determined). This will be a chance to meet and speak with eleven canal authors including William McKelvey, Paul Muldoon (Pulitzer Prize winning poet), Richard Veit, Marie Murphy Duess, Linda Barth, Jeanette Muser and others. Lee Sullivan Hill and Linda Barth will read excerpts from the children’s books, the Riverside Band will be on hand to provide their brand of bluegrass inspired music and attendees will have the opportunity to view several videos about the D & R including the NJN production produced by Cliff Crawford. So get those canal books off their shelves and plan to get them autographed in person!

These are but a few of the programs and special events that are planned for this milestone year so make sure to keep checking the park website for additions and updates throughout the year. This extended programming calendar and special events could not be accomplished without the assistance of the many friends groups and organizations that dedicate themselves to the
preservation and support of the D & R Canal State Park. Our staff is (as always) happy and grateful for their continued commitment and support!

We look forward to an active and exciting year as we mark the canal’s 175th anniversary. We encourage everyone to help us celebrate. Come show your support for this treasured New Jersey historic site and surviving icon of the canal era!