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!