The county’s commissioners celebrated the opening of Arney’s Mount Trail with a ribbon-cutting on Nov. 1.
The trail is located on more than 185 acres of land preserved by the county and features a 2.2-mile asphalt path up and around the Arney’s Mount, plus 2.45 miles of equestrian turf trails and several smaller challenge trails through the woods along the base of the mount.
Arney’s Mount is the latest of several new trail projects undertaken by Burlington County, which already has more than 1,000 acres of developed park land and 50-plus miles of interconnected trails.
“Phase two of this project calls for a development of a 3.5-mile connector that will extend northwest through preserved farms and open space to the county fairgrounds off (Route) 206,” Commissioner Allison Eckel said. “Both will become critical pieces for our regional trail system and the larger circuit trail network that leaders hope will someday total 800 miles throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.”
Funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program were used for project engineering, design and construction costs, and for a picnic pavilion, parking area and an accessible horse-mounting platform.
“We started 20-plus years ago preserving important pieces of land before they got developed and then developed our regional parks system, so we’ve got 12, 13 parks now,” noted Matt Johnson, coordinator of open-space acquisition and park development for the county’s Department of Resource Conservation.
“Now the goal is, as part of a whole regional effort, to interconnect all of our parks with accessible trails like this.”
A highlight of Arney’s Mount for Johnson is seeing wildlife visit the space.
“It’s such a neat property because you’ve got open fields with woods, and so you get everything from lots of bird activity – so hawks, songbirds,” he explained. “There’s deer, we have fox, so all kinds of (animals) enjoy this property as well.”
Earlier this fall, the county celebrated the completion of the first 4-mile segment of the Rancocas Greenway Trail that will eventually travel the length of the Rancocas Creek, from its confluence with the Delaware River to its headwaters near the Burlington-Ocean border.
“It’s so quiet,” Johnson said of Arney’s Mount. “You feel removed from the hustle and bustle of daily life when you’re out here. It’s like stepping back in time. It really is transformational and I feel it physically and emotionally when I’m out here. And I hope everybody else does, too.”
Johnson also discussed upcoming projects and what he hopes people experience at the county’s many parks.
“We have some opportunities to extend trails to where most of our population lives, in Evesham, or Mount Laurel, or Moorestown, Willingboro,” he noted. “To connect to those population centers and give people easy and safe access to spots like this is really exciting, so I’m looking forward to the next 20 years.”
“Whether you prefer to walk, run, bike or ride, this trail is perfect for everyone,” said Eckel.