Burlington County is looking to expand its network of accessible walking and biking trails with a study into a possible 50 miles of new paths through central and southern towns like Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Maple Shade, Medford, Evesham, Tabernacle and Shamong.
The Southern Regional Trails Study will also investigate possible connections to trails already built or in development in local towns and neighboring Camden County.
The Burlington County Commissioners voted last week to authorize the Taylor Design Group to undertake the study. It will be funded with $100,000 from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
Burlington County has already received and invested more than $19.3 million in grants towards trail development.
“From our historic towns along the Delaware River and Rancocas Creek through the northern farm belt and wonderous Pinelands. Burlington County has some of New Jersey’s most varied, beautiful natural landscapes and many of the state’s most important historic landmarks,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “Our trails provide opportunities for all residents to experience these resources and we continue to seek new opportunities to grow our network to reach more places. It’s an investment in our resident’s health, mobility and quality of life.”
Burlington County has created more than 50 miles of regional and park trails through parts of northern, western and eastern Burlington County, including a new section of the Delaware River Heritage Trail linking Bordentown and Florence. Last fall, the County also completed the first leg of the Rancocas Greenway through Delran, Riverside and Delanco that will eventually travel the length of the Rancocas from its source in Pemberton Township to Delran, where it meets the Delaware River.
Last year, the County also opened the Arney’s Mount Trail in Springfield, which includes both paved and crushed stone hiking trails up and around Arney’s Mount, the county’s highest elevation.
The Southern Regional Trails Study is expected to look at more than 50 miles of new trails through towns in the central and southern parts of the county, predominantly constructing new off-road paths on easements and right-of-ways. The goal will be to develop feasible routes connecting the County’s existing trails with other local trail networks, parks and destinations, eventually linking up with other trails in neighboring Camden County.
Finding routes to connect to local trail networks in various stages of development in Evesham, Medford and Maple Shade is one of the study’s major goals.
Among the potential routes that will be studied are:
- A new trail through parts of Moorestown and Maple Shade that would connect with both the Rancocas Greenway and the planned Pennsauken-Merchantville Multi-Use Trail in Camden County. The envisioned trail would provide links to the Burlington County Agricultural Center, Swede Run Field in Moorestown, the Moorestown Recreation Center and other community parks and downtown destinations in both Moorestown and Maple Shade.
- A new trail through Mount Laurel, Medford and Evesham with possible links with Rowan College at Burlington County’s campus in Mount Laurel, the Mount Laurel Community Gardens and Evesham destinations like the former Garden State Beagle Club property, Savich Field, Arrowhead Park and the Black Run Preserve.
- A Marlton-Cherry Hill branch through Evesham with links to the Evesboro Downs Sports Complex that eventually connects to the Cooper River Trail in Camden County.
- A trail through Medford Township and Tabernacle with potential links to Medford destinations like the Hartford Crossing Sports Complex, Freedom Park and the Burlington County Institute of Technology-Medford Campus.
- A Medford-Tabernacle Loop trail south through Medford, Tabernacle and Shamong to Camden County with potential links to Picketts Mill Park, the YMCA of the Pines camps and Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge.
All of the proposed paths would be part of the planned 800-mile Circuit Trails network that is expected to connect Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer counties with five Pennsylvania counties in the Greater Philadelphia region. They would also be completely accessible for those with mobility challenges.
“Burlington County is the largest county in New Jersey and we’re committed to making the Circuit Trails vision a reality,” said Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “We want to improve mobility to ensure all residents can safely access and enjoy the natural spaces and historic sites that make our county special. This new study reflects that commitment to provide a blueprint for how to achieve that goal.”