Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

The official opening of the first leg of the Lake Hopatcong Trail will be marked with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and short hike on Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m., at the Hopatcong Senior Center, 32 Lakeside Blvd, Hopatcong.

Lake Hopatcong Trail blazes on treesMonths of planning and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor have culminated in the completion of the first leg of the Trail, a 40-mile trail system that will encircle the lake in Morris and Sussex counties when complete.

photo of Lake Hopatcong Trail volunteer Keith Schilling nailing a trail blaze on a tree

Lake Hopatcong Trail volunteer Keith Schilling

Dozens of volunteers have contributed their time, energy and occasionally their own tools, to the multi-community project. Many volunteers received training in trailblazing and trail maintenance by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

“We’re gratified by the broad support we’ve received for this regional project,” said Donna Macalle-Holly, acting executive director for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. “We’re especially grateful to the devoted and enthusiastic volunteers who joined us for weekly trail workdays throughout the spring and summer.  Their hard work prepared this first trail leg for all to enjoy.”

photo of a group of trail volunteers at work in the woods

Trail volunteers at work

The first phase of the trail is located Hopatcong Borough in Sussex County. It traverses approximately nine miles, beginning on the Morris Canal Towpath across from Hopatcong State Park in the Landing section of Roxbury. With access from 13 different locations, the trail winds through Hopatcong Borough, ending near the Prospect Point Preserve in Jefferson Township, where the next phase of the trail is planned.

This first phase of the Trail was funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program, through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.  Mapping and trail-marking for the project was completed by The Land Conservancy of New Jersey.

Trail maps will be available at the ceremony and online at lakehopatcongfoundation.org following the ceremony. A second state DEP grant application is pending for the next phase of the trail in Jefferson.

The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission of “improving Lake Hopatcong for all, now and in the years to come.” Launched in 2012, it aims to improve and enhance the lake experience and environment. Initiatives include invasive species prevention, lake education and safety improvements. For more information, visit http://www.lakehopatcongfoundation.org