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New route offers space for recreation and scenic views

Rancocas Greenway Trail is first segment of larger path

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: “They don’t even know it’s tucked back here which is perfect, because then you can hit it on your way home from work and just take a minute to recollect and then enter your evening with a better frame of mind,” Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel said of the new Rancocas Greenway Trail.

Burlington County’s commissioners celebrated the new Rancocas Greenway Trail with an opening ceremony on Sept. 1.

The trail, between Amico Island and Pennington Park, is the first four-mile segment of a larger 30-mile path envisioned to someday travel the length of the Rancocas, from its confluence with the Delaware River to its headwaters near the Burlington-Ocean County border. 

The trail cost under $5 million to design and build and was funded almost entirely with grants from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program, which is administered through the New Jersey Department of Transportation Local Aid Office. 

The county also got a $300,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Regional Trails Project, part of a larger effort to create a network of 800 miles of trails through South Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia region.

“This park here and the trails and the interlinking that’s going to happen, that’s going to be around and it’s going to be built for hopefully my kids when they’re raising their own kids,” Congressman Andy Kim said. “They can remember just what it is that we’ve been able to preserve here … 

“It’s really awesome to just see everything come together.”

The Rancocas Greenway Trail offers a mix of outdoor recreation and exercise, plus scenery along the Rancocas Creek. The new trail begins at Amico Island Park, a 55-acre peninsula located at the confluence of the Rancocas Creek and Delaware River in Delran, and travels east through Riverside and across the Delanco-Riverside bridge. It then goes beneath the River Line light rail bridge and snakes through Delanco to Pennington Park, a 140-acre space with views of the Rancocas Creek, interior trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, dog parks and a community garden.

“Our Burlington County Parks System has created more than 1,000 acres of parkland and more than 50 miles of interconnecting hiking, biking and running trails,” County Commissioner Allison Eckel said. “We’re incredibly proud of these assets, and believe outdoor spaces like Historic Smithville Park, Amico Island and Pennington Park … should be accessible to all residents and visitors, including those with limited mobility.” 

“This new Rancocas Greenway Trail reflects that commitment.”

The trail is 100-percent wheelchair accessible; the county added close to one-mile of new sidewalks within Delran, Riverside and Delanco and 39 handicapped-accessible ramps to existing sidewalks in the three towns. All the regional trails in the county are wheelchair accessible, and nearly every county park has one or more accessible trails.

The Rancocas Greenway Trail is one of several new trail projects that have undertaken by the county, which recently celebrated the opening of a 5.5-mile section of the Delaware River Heritage Trail between Bordentown and Roebling in Florence Township, and a new trail around Arney’s Mount in Springfield, the highest point in Burlington County at 240 feet above sea level.

“I’m excited to know that it’s tucked away in a pocket that most people, as they’re driving by …” Eckel said of the Rancocas trail. “They don’t even know it’s tucked back here, which is perfect, because then you can hit it on your way home from work and just take a minute to recollect and then enter your evening with a better frame of mind.”

For more information, on the trail, visit www.co.burlington.nj.us.

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