New trails blaze in Mine Hill Township

Date Published: 
Fri, 05/25/2012

New trails blaze in Mine Hill Township

By Claire Knapp, Contributing Writer | Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:28 pm
MINE HILL TWP. – New hiking and biking trails are being built through the old Dickerson Mine property that will ultimately connect to existing trails in neighboring communities.

At the Township Council meeting on Thursday, May 17, Township Councilman David Bloom presented a map of the first in a series of trails to be built. The trail is a joint effort between local volunteers and members of the Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association (JORBA).

The trails will be open to hikers and bikers, but not to any motorized vehicles.

“This initial trail will be the primary loop, which will be designated by white markers,” said Bloom in an email last Sunday.

“The current focus for the team of volunteers from JORBA, who meet every Monday and work on the trail system, is to get this primary loop open for use this summer. This will create initial traffic and get the word out to the general population.”

This first trail loop will be five miles long, but when the entire project is complete, Mine Hill expects to have a total of eight miles for hikers and cyclists to enjoy.

The trails will connect to those in neighboring Randolph and Roxbury townships near Randolph Lake’s beach and, through them, to Morris County’s Patriot’s Path.

“Upon completion of this project, the Dickerson Mine Preserve Trail Network will provide connectivity between vital areas of recreational, educational and historic significance, as well as interconnecting trails from neighboring towns,” said Bloom.

Best of all, taxpayers will not have to spend a lot of money for the project.

Materials for the trails are being obtained through a $40,000 grant from JORBA. The organization became involved with the Mine Hill trails project through one of its’ members, Jason Gonsales, a Mine Hill resident and member of the Mine Hill Open Space Committee.

Bloom said the trail is fairly steep behind Mine Hill Beach and the volunteer workers are currently cutting into the hill and will install some retaining walls to create a maximum 7 percent grade.

Offering a less strenuous hike, where the terrain is gently rolling from the one to three mile marker.

Parking is available on Dickerson Mine Road before reaching Mine Hill Beach, where a vandal-proof kiosk now stands displaying trail information. There is more parking by the beach.

In the future, a parking area will be set aside on the opposite side of the property along Canfield Avenue near the school.

“Our mining historians have been heavily involved in the planning of the trails, helping us to steer away from where there are old mine shafts,” said Bloom. “Our goal is to include historical markers explaining what it was like when the mine was in operation.”

The first, large trail will be crisscrossed with smaller trails offering variety. The surface will remain natural with brush cleared and areas where tree roots emerge, filled in.

“The ground is pretty solid,” said Bloom. “There won’t be any graveled or paved paths.”

“I think its’ an exciting project,” said Bloom. “It will bring yet another quality of life benefit to people living in Mine Hill.”

Source: http://newjerseyhills.com/randolph_reporter/news/new-trails-blaze-in-min...