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The Christie Administration has approved 63 applications totaling $1,188,500 for recreational trail projects throughout New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced today. The funds come from the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program and are administered by the DEP’s Green Acres Program.

The goal of the Recreational Trails Program is to improve public access to open space, provide outdoor recreation opportunities, develop trail linkages, create urban and suburban trail corridors and provide sites and facilities for additional and improved hiking, biking, horseback riding, and off-highway vehicle activities.

“Preserving and enhancing natural resources and open spaces, and providing affordable recreational opportunities for our residents are priorities for the Christie Administration,” Commissioner Martin said. “New Jersey’s trails not only provide residents and visitors with recreational and health benefits, but improve the quality of life in our communities. This funding will further improve and enhance those experiences.”

“These funds are critical to the ongoing development and maintenance of our statewide trail network, which provides greater access to New Jersey’s many open spaces and highlights our abundant recreational and historic treasures,” said DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources Rich Boornazian.

The New Jersey Trails Council recommended the grant recipients for funding, and the Federal Highway Administration approved them. The Trails Council is comprised of representatives from hiking, mountain biking, motorized trail use, canoeing/kayaking and equestrian interest groups, as well as general trail advocates and state government representatives.

The Federal Highway Administration provides financial assistance to states for developing and maintaining trails and trail facilities. The funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use. Since the program’s inception in 1993, New Jersey has awarded more than $15.9 million to federal, state, county and local governments, and nonprofit agencies. Of the funding available each year, 30 percent is allocated for non-motorized trail projects, 30 percent for motorized trail projects, and 40 percent for diversified use trail projects. Recipients are required to provide a 20 percent matching share for each project.

The approvals cover a wide variety of trails projects statewide. Those in Mercer County include:

  • Hamilton Township, Veterans Park Boardwalk and Trail Renovations: $24,000
  • Hopewell Township, Lawrence Hopewell Trail Hillman and Christensen Segments: $24,000
  • Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation, Lawrence Hopewell Trail Signage: $24,000
  • Lawrence Township, Lawrence Hopewell Trail Carson Woods Segment: $12,000
  • D&R Greenway Land Trust, Cedar Ridge Trail Expansion: $15,500

Applications for the next round of competitive federal grants will be accepted by the DEP this spring for funding consideration to develop, maintain and improve trails, as well as to operate trails throughout New Jersey. The federal funds can be used to improve open space access, enhance environmental resources, create urban and suburban corridors, and provide additional hiking, biking, horseback riding, and off-highway vehicle opportunities.

For more information on DEP’s Recreational Trails Program, please visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres/trails/index.html

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