Ocean County Press Release
FOLLOWING the existing right of way of the former Barnegat Branch Division of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Barnegat Branch Trail, when completed, will span from Barnegat Township to Toms River Township.
A significant connection in the trail joining Berkeley Township with Lacey Township was recently highlighted during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new trestle that sits above Cedar Creek.
"This is a key connection on the Barnegat Branch Trail," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines, who is Chairwoman of the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation. "This trail is becoming a true recreational and historical centerpiece.
"It is well traveled by walkers, joggers and bicyclists," she said "It provides a host of benefits not the least of which is being outside in the fresh air and enjoying nature's beauty."
Haines was joined by Freeholder Gary Quinn, Berkeley Township Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr., Lacey Township Mayor Timothy McDonald along with staff from Ocean County's Planning Department, Engineering Department and Parks and Recreation Department, in cutting a red ribbon strung across the entry to the trestle marking the official opening of the walkway connecting Berkeley and Lacey townships.
Work to install the new trestle – a 150 foot long prefabricated weathered steel span - over the Cedar Creek at Berkeley and Lacey townships began earlier this year.
"The placement of the new trestle above some of the pilings of the original trestle allowed the county to maintain some of the historical features of the area while providing a safe path of travel for trail users," Haines said.
The new trestle is the longest clear span of any of the county's bridges. Prior to installation, it was shipped in two 75-feet sections. It was constructed in Alabama and made its way to Ocean County on two flatbed trailers.
The trestle provides the connection to the existing 2.75 mile trail from the Cedar Creek to Hickory Lane in Berkeley Township.
This phase of the trail construction also includes the creation of the 10 foot wide stone dust trail on the Lacey township side, creating a formal parking lot at Hebrew Park and installing interpretive signage, benches, a railroad hand car display and picnic tables.
"This section offer residents and visitors better access to Cedar Creek – an environmental jewel in the County," Haines said.
Cedar Creek drains into Barnegat Bay, and is part of the Barnegat Bay Watershed Management Area. Like most Pine Barrens streams, the water of Cedar Creek is "tea colored" because of tannic acid from the roots of the cedars lining the riverbanks. It is a popular spot for canoeing and kayakers.
This phase of the work also included an almost half mile section and extended from South Street at Hebrew Park to the Cedar Creek.
Ocean County has completed seven phases of the trail, which includes almost eight contiguous miles from Burr Street in Barnegat Township to Lacey Road in Lacey Township. In addition, more than three miles from Dudley Park at the Cedar Creek in Lacey Township to Hickory Lane in Berkeley Township have been completed. When done the linear park will span about 16 miles.
"This trail and the ongoing work to move it to completion truly complements Ocean County's open space program," Haines said. "The trail represents a great part of our history. It protects our environment and it highlights areas of the County many residents may never have been able to access."