New Jersey Transforming Railway to ‘Greenway’ Giving Hikers, Runners More Open-Air Space

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by Xulio Villarino/Cover/Getty Images)

While some of it may be a reaction to Covid, outdoor interest is absolutely booming right now. Recognizing this, New Jersey is turning an old railway into a “greenway.” This patch of land will give more room for hikers, runners, and cyclists to enjoy themselves.

Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy announced yesterday the state will purchase a 9-mile stretch of land. This strip will serve as a “greenway” for hikers, runners, walkers, and cyclists. Purchasing the strip for $65 million, Murphy claims it’s one of the best things the state has done or will do for some time. “I think when we look back 30, 40 years from now, this is a top-five accomplishment,” Murphy said at a news conference. “I really believe that. This is a big deal that folks will benefit from for a long, long time.”

The Essex-Hudson Greenway serves as New Jersey’s first park since 2006. The Greenway’s official Twitter account posted a brief clip of the area, providing a nice preview.

The Greenway spans roughly 135 acres and was formerly part of the Boonton Line railway. Norfolk Southern Railway owned it but discontinued that portion of the line in 2002. Additionally, the land connects 8 towns together, including Monclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus, and Jersey City.

This initiative came to be because of the Open Space Institute, which secured a sales agreement for the land last year. The goal is to make a safe, off-road trail for commuting options, but also “much-needed greenspace to urban communities that are traditionally and negatively impacted by infrastructure development.”

As of now, officials haven’t stated an exact timeline or finish date for the Greenway, though they do note also creating a park.

83-Year-Old Completes Appalachian Trail and Becomes Oldest Person to do so

Along with the subject of hiking, a hiker recently completed the Appalachian Trail. That in and of itself is impressive enough but the person in question is 83, making them the oldest person to do so.

The Associated Press reported hiker M.J. “Sunny” Eberhart, or Nimblewill Nomad, as he’s often called, completed the trail last week. Though he took a few tumbles during the journey, he reports being in good condition. “I’ve a got a couple of skid marks on me, but I’m OK,” he said. “You’ve got to have an incredible resolve to do this.”

Nevertheless, to make the trip a bit easier on himself, Eberhart hiked the trail out of order. Chopping the hike into sections, he took advantage of optimal weather and slowly but surely completed the trek. Dale “Greybeard” Sanders, the previous record-holder at 82 years of age, joined him for the finish.

In a humbling display, Sanders reports being happy someone beat his record. “My dear friend Nimblewill is taking my record away from me, and I’m happy for him. Records are made to be broken,” Sanders said.