Warren County Parks Foundation Helps Realize 20-Year Trail Vision

The Warren County Parks Foundation recently completed construction of a footbridge at the county’s White Lake Natural Resource Area. The twenty-foot long wooden bridge was built by nearly a dozen volunteers and marks a significant milestone for the Foundation which was formed just one year ago.

The foundation’s mission is to support Warren County’s growing parks system through fundraising and volunteerism. Over the past year, the foundation has grown to include nearly two dozen members, has doubled its number of trustees, has helped raise awareness about Warren County’s parks, and has raised thousands of dollars for parks projects like the new bridge at White Lake.

“This bridge is a key feature that allows for the realization of a 20-year vision to connect the Paulinskill Valley Trail with the Ridge and Valley Trail at White Lake,” explained Bob Canace, president of the Ridge and Valley Conservancy and a Parks Foundation volunteer.

“Marked with yellow blazes, the Ridge and Valley Trail continues north through White Lake and then across thousands of acres of preserved land before ultimately connecting with the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area,” Canace described. “This trail connection has been a long time in the making and we really enjoyed working with the Parks Foundation on this project.”

Warren County’s White Lake Natural Resource Area is a beautiful 396-acre preserve located in Hardwick Township. The park’s most notable feature, White Lake, is a deep, 69-acre, spring-fed water body. The lake is named after the white chalky marl bottom which is composed of freshwater mollusk shells and clay. A variety of interesting habitats surround the pristine lake, including fertile meadows, karst limestone exposures, sinkhole ponds, and stands of mature hemlock and hardwood forests.

Heading south from Stillwater Road, the Ridge and Valley Trail passes through the county preserve around the eastern side of the lake before crossing Spring Valley Road to the south where the new footbridge can be found just before reaching the Paulinskill Valley Trail.

“With this first project, the Foundation not only helped connect two popular trails, but it helped connect volunteers with each other and with their the community,” said Corey Tierney, director of Land Preservation for Warren County and a Parks Foundation volunteer. “We’re fortunate to have so many hard-working and generous people in our community who take time out of their busy lives to volunteer in our parks.”

The Parks Foundation has several similar projects that it is hoping to complete throughout the county and is looking for volunteers to help. For its next project, it is planning to construct a section of the Morris Canal Trail at the county’s newly acquired Mount Rascal Park in Hackettstown this October.

For those interested in joining the Warren County Parks Foundation, email wcparksfoundation@gmail.com or contact Corey Tierney at (908) 453-3252. To learn more about White Lake and other Warren County Parks, visit www.warrenparks.com.

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