The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has agreed to blaze and maintain trails at the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve, located on Ewing Avenue and High Mountain Road. The Trail Conference has already cleared and blazed the two main trails: the Preserve Shoreline Loop, a 1.5 mile loop trail that circles the entire upper basin of the Nature Preserve; and the Island Bridges trail, a .5 mile trail which starts at the Preserve Shoreline Loop trail and extends into the scenic island areas. Another new feature is the informational kiosk which is located adjacent to the dam and parking area. The kiosk will exhibit maps and other Nature Preserve information.
John Moran, chair of the North Jersey Trails Committee of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, who was instrumental in blazing the new trails, commented on the new trail network: “Helping to build the trails at Franklin Lake Nature Preserve has been a wonderful experience, with more improvements to follow. The Preserve is truly an amazing crown jewel amid attractive surrounding suburbs. The big beautiful lake is an eye catcher–with fishing, birding, and picnic opportunities along with plenty of scenery for photography. The forests, islands, dikes, dams and smaller ponds provide a wide variety of terrain and habitat to amble along with family and friends.”
Since 1920, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has partnered with parks to create, protect, and promote a network of 1,800 miles of public trails in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. The Trail Conference main office is located in Mahwah, New Jersey.
The Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve, formerly known as the Haledon Reservoir, was acquired by the Borough of Franklin Lakes in 2006 from the Borough of Haledon, and was opened to the public in June 2011. It is a 120 acre site dedicated to hiking, fishing and birdwatching, which is open dawn to dusk every day. The entrance to the Nature Preserve is located on High Mountain Road.
Franklin Lakes Councilman Bill Smith encourages the public to experience the new trails, “When one considers the potential alternative uses of this property by private developers I believe the permanent preservation of these beautiful 120 acres in Franklin Lakes was essential to maintain the character of this community. I am thankful for the foresight of former Mayor Donch and the public officials who negotiated the purchase and obtained the State and County grants which financed the majority of the cost. I encourage everyone, especially anyone who still questions the decision, to spend a few hours on one of the trails now available to the public.”