Twelve months after we began, the Summit Passaic River Park Trail Project is nearing completion. The trail has been mapped by City Engineer Rick Matias and the user-friendly product placed in a wonderful new kiosk at the trailhead and on the City website under the Environment tab. Volunteers have installed a sturdy bench at the trailhead, marked the trail with blazes and positioned stepping stones for surer footing where a brook interrupts the trail.
Later this fall, we will begin to plant the native trees and shrubs selected
by B.W. Bosenberg & Co., Landscape Architects, with input from Betty Ann Kelly, the Union County Environmental Specialist. A rain barrel will be set up which the City will fill, enabling volunteers to water the plantings. Finally, the City will furnish and install a bike rack near the gravel parking area on New Providence Avenue.
Incredibly, fifty-five individuals donated hundreds of hours to this project, including thirty first-time trail volunteers. Volunteer trail workers have become trail enthusiasts, spreading word about our lovely trails. In fact, the improved and more prominent trails are increasingly popular with Summit residents.
One of our most exciting accomplishments was attracting seventy new hikers to guided trail walks led by Jackie Kondel of the Reeves-Reed Arboretum. We are working with other community groups to implement guided hikes on the trails to replicate this success.
In addition to valuable volunteer labor, the original $10,000 grant from the Overlook Medical Center Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative generated over $4,000 of in-kind donations to our project from the City of Summit, B.W. Bosenberg & Co., Union County, Cording Landscape Design, and the Reeves-Reed Arboretum. The project also renewed interest in the trails among local Boy Scouts. Two Summit Scouts are currently at work on more improvements to earn their Eagle Scout awards. These Scouts will be adding another kiosk, stepping stones and more blazes.
The Passaic River trail in Summit is better than ever. Go take a hike!