Earlier this month, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt designated the Musconetcong Watershed National Water Trail to the National Trails System.
This designation comes from the National Trails Act of 1968, which calls for establishing trails in both rural and urban areas.
The Musconetcong River, which is also a National Wild & Scenic River, flows for 42 miles from Lake Hopatcong to the Delaware River. Surrounded by rugged Highland ridges, the river flows by state and county parks, historic hamlets, nature preserves, and one of the region’s most scenic agricultural valleys.
The Musconetcong National Watershed Trail provides information on 11 water trail trips, which can be combined into longer trips. This includes four trips on Lake Hopatcong, one trip on Lake Musconetcong, and six trips on the Musconetcong River, including the possibility for overnight camping at Stephens State Park. Joining this network of trails helps promote the preservation and public access of our outdoor spaces. Before next summer, look for signs along the river indicating access points for the Water Trail.
“We thank Secretary Bernhardt for recognizing the beauty and recreational opportunities in the Musconetcong Watershed. We hope the National Water trail designation encourages people to enjoy, be inspired by, and ultimately engage with us in protecting our region’s rustic and rural character,” said Alan Hunt, Director of Policy at Musconetcong Watershed Association. “The National Water Trail designation will help raise awareness of tourism opportunities that support regional economic development goals of our county partners.”
Joining this network of trails helps promote the preservation and public access of outdoor spaces. Look for signs along the river and nearby watershed areas denoting this new status.
The Musconetcong Watershed Association, along with partners from the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Warren County, and the Mohawk Canoe Club have been working together to create a National Water Trails brochure and online interactive story map to help locate the over 50 public access points.
“We are pleased to have collaborated with the Musconetcong Watershed Association and the other partners on this water trails project and look forward to future cooperative efforts,” said Cliff Lundin, Lake Hopatcong Foundation recreational trails committee chair. “This prestigious national designation recognizes Lake Hopatcong as a primary recreational waterways, not only with the Musconetcong Watershed, but within the nation.”
“I am thrilled to hear of The Musconetcong Water Trail’s national designation,” said Anthony Fasano, Sussex County Freeholder. “Our beautiful natural resources, right here in our backyards, deserve this designation as it will rightfully spotlight our region’s natural beauty and bolster our tourism efforts for years to come.”
The Musconetcong Watershed Association and the Lake Hopatcong Foundation are a shared managing agency of the Musconetcong National Water Trail. As the Musconetcong’s headwaters, Lake Hopatcong has significant public access points for recreation in and around the lake.
The National Trails System encourages those of all ages, interests, skills, and physical abilities to explore and appreciate this system of national scenic, historic, and recreation trails.
“I am thrilled to hear of The Musconetcong Water Trail’s national designation. Our beautiful natural resources, right here in our backyards, deserve this designation as it will rightfully spotlight our region’s natural beauty and bolster our tourism efforts for years to come.” Anthony Fasano, Sussex County Freeholder