Madison Recreation Center Accessible Trail to Enhance Community Access to Nature.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of the Madison Recreation Center (MRC) Accessible Trail, a project aimed at improving accessibility to nature for senior citizens and differently-abled people.
Morris County Commissioner Stephen H. Shaw, Madison Mayor Bob Conley, and members of the Madison Open Space, Recreation & Historic Preservation Committee (OSRHP) presided over the event on Saturday, June 3, 2023.
Funded by the Madison OSRHP Fund and the Morris County Planning and Preservation Trail Construction Grant Program, the new trail, inaugurated on June 3, National Trails Day, underscores the county's commitment to accessibility.
The paved pathway, located near Madison High School, enables easy access to the Recreation Center's facilities, including playing fields, hiking trails, a rain garden, and a community garden.
Speaking at the event, Commissioner Shaw stated, "National Trails Day is an annual celebration that highlights and promotes the importance of trails in the United States. Since the initiation of the trail grants in 2016, over $4.7 million has been allocated to create over 28 miles of trails in Morris County, enhancing access to our vast open spaces and improving the quality of life for all residents. The 2023 application window is now open."
The new trail, featuring benches and information kiosks, invites visitors to traverse its .53-mile loop, connected to a footpath installed in 2016 by Madison Borough and local volunteers.
The path can be accessed from the main entrance of the Madison Recreation Complex on Ridgedale Avenue or the main parking lot located near the fields.
Denise Chaplick, Director of Park Planning and Development for the Morris County Park Commission, noted the trail's proximity to historical sites, including Summerhill Park, Luke Miller House, and Bottle Hill Historic District, adding-
"The trail was designed to be ADA-compliant with consideration for Madison’s senior citizens and residents who use wheelchairs at the neighboring Rehabilitation Center."
The MRC Accessible Trail marks the third trail project funded by the Morris County Trail Grant program in Madison, with a total grant of $368,940 supporting 1.83 miles of trails.
The program will open applications for the 2023 Recreational Trail Construction Grants, offering nearly $1.5 million to Morris County’s 39 municipalities for recreational trail projects, till July 28, 2023.
About National Trails Day: Established in 1993 by the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day promotes public awareness of trails and encourages their preservation, development, and use.
It offers a wide range of activities including trail maintenance projects, guided hikes, bike rides, trail running events, educational programs, and more, fostering a sense of stewardship and appreciation for trails and the diverse landscapes of the United States.