Endangered History: The Ocean County Rail Trail

bbt-logo

Today we bring you an issue currently being battled on our behalf by a group of strident residents down the road.

The Lacey Rail Trail Environmental Committee, formed in 2000 as a non-profit non-partisan group, is focused on, amongst other things, the preservation of the Central Railroad of New Jersey right of way that exists from Toms River to Barnegat (cutting right through Beachwood along our own Railroad Avenue) that is currently being developed as a 16 mile linear county park for local residents and visitors. This project will allow a better appreciation and awareness of our area, Beachwood included, and is sure to improve local economies as these trail patrons stop at local businesses along the way.

04_barnegat_jpg

Since its inception, however, the Lacey Township governing body has been embattled from within and without as local officials push to turn their portion of the trail into yet another asphalt roadway while many local residents push back, demanding the trail be preserved as a community asset. Allowing their section of the trail paved would be a black mark on the joint-community effort of preserving the heritage and environment of this unique tract as a pedestrian trail. In their many efforts to save the Lacey portion of the trail from the bulldozers and pavers that would see it decimated to just another congested highway, the Lacey Rail Trail has moved forward on efforts to have the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Historic Preservation Office declare the trail an historic landmark.

bbt-satellite-map

Now is the time for those living outside Lacey Township to speak up. With its vital role as the main form of transportation for Beachwood’s earliest residents, this railroad and the trail it provides today must not be subjugated by the shortsighted actions of the few. Today the LRT has issued a call to action for all residents of Ocean County and all proponents of railroading, history and the environment to take a few short moments and call upon our state officials to recognize this trail as an important link between Ocean County’s historic past and its future improved economy. In these days of severe economic crises, we must not allow any efforts for bolstering patronage of local businesses and parks to fall by the wayside. Today we must all come together and shout a resounding call to our state leaders in Trenton and the local leaders in Lacey and around Ocean County that we will not stand for the continued undercutting of our natural resources and unique history.

14_ocean_jpg

Take a moment for the benefit of our future. Support the Lacey Rail Trail and its efforts to keep an unbroken, clean Ocean County Rail Trail today.

kiosk

An Open Call to Action from the Lacey Rail Trail:

Dear Fellow County Resident,

You can help save a very important part of our Jersey shore history!

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Historic Preservation Office is currently considering a historical designation for the Barnegat Branch of the Jersey Central Railroad of New Jersey.

This significant rail line played an integral role in the growth of the Ocean County Barnegat Bay region in the late 1800′s – early 1900′s and is at risk of being destroyed by development.

The corridor is unique in and of itself – displaying architectural and design features unlike any other rail corridor in the State of New Jersey. There still remain many archeological remnants of its history including original train stations, rails, and a turntable.

trailhead
Please e-mail the decision makers TODAY and let them know that you support a decision to preserve the integrity of this cultural resource!

Ask them to issue a Certificate of Eligibility for the Barnegat Branch to help preserve this unique and irreplaceable part of our Jersey shore history!

Acting Administrator Daniel D. Saunders

Dan.Saunders@dep.state.nj.us

Assistant Commissioner Amy Cradic

Amy.Cradic@dep.state.nj.us

cc:

Commissioner Mark Mauriello

Mark.Mauriello@dep.state.nj.us

Sample Letter

Dear Commissioner Cradic and Administrator Saunders,

RE: Certificate of Eligibility Barnegat Branch, Ocean County – Save Our Shore History!

I strongly support the historical designation of the Barnegat Branch of the Jersey Central Railroad Right-of-Way to help protect this unique and irreplaceable corridor from development.

The rail line played an integral role in the growth of Ocean County and the corridor continues to display architectural design features unlike any other rail line in the state.

Please issue a Certificate of Eligibility to help preserve this cultural resource for future generations to experience and enjoy.

Sincerely,

Name

Address

Please feel free to share this alert with family and friends. For more information visit www.laceyrailtrail.org Thank you for your continued support.

Save It…Don’t Pave It!!!

www.laceyrailtrail.org

On a Path for a Greener Future

Official Site of the Ocean County/Barnegat Branch Trail:

http://www.planning.co.ocean.nj.us/transp-railtrail.htm

Official Site of the Lacey Rail Trail organization:

http://www.laceyrailtrail.org/

West Jersey Chapter of National Railway Historical Society (currently covers Jersey Shore as well)

http://www.westjersey-nrhs.org/