Camden County officials are seeking input from residents on the long-discussed LINK Trail through a series of public meetings.
The county is finalizing preliminary designs for three segments of the county’s proposed 33-mile, off-road, multi-use cross country trail.
The LINK Trail will span 17 municipalities, its spine connecting the Ben Franklin Bridge to Winslow Township at the edge of Camden County. The concept for the spine was created after a 2017 feasibility study by the engineering firm NV5.
“It reflects the idea that we are looking to link all parts of Camden County: north, south and independent trails that we hope towns will ultimately utilize to link back to the larger trail,” said Freeholder Jeff Nash.
“This trail, once completed, will infuse millions of dollars into the local economy each year and give our residents and visitors opportunities for recreation and a means of transportation between communities that do not exist presently,” he added. “We are proud to partner with our municipalities, to provide all of our residents with new recreational opportunities and businesses along the route with new customers.”
Through the feasibility study, Nash said, the engineering firm looked for ways that could make the trail most useful while generating the best possible route.
“It was in order to identify the path of least resistance so to speak, while providing amenities to the towns that [the trail] crosses through,” Nash the freeholder added. “Now the next stage is to design the trail.”
The Camden County Department of Environmental Affairs is seeking public participation through virtual meetings in an effort to work with residents.
“We have prioritized several different sections and currently we have three of these segments that are up for public discussion,” Nash explained. “We do expect to have public discussion regarding additional parts of the trail because we really encourage public hearings so people understand what is being discussed and so that they have input on the trail.
“Public participation on a project like this is a critical component; you cannot design a trail without asking people in the neighborhoods what they would like to see and where they would like to see it,” Nash added.
Public hearings are scheduled for July 9 and July 13 to discuss two separate portions of the trail that total nearly six miles, including portions in Somerdale and Winslow Township. Registration to participate in the meetings can be completed at https://www.camdencounty.com/service/parks/cross-county-trail/.
Additional information regarding the trail can also be found at the website.
Nash said the project is expected to cost about $50 million to create the “spine” of the trail from the bridge to Winslow. From there, the trail can be used to go all the way to Valley Forge, while also connecting to the East Coast Greenway, a trail project that connects Maine to Florida.