Chester Township and Chester Borough collaborated to develop a plan for a walking/biking trail ecosystem that will connect significant open space, environmental, cultural and historic features in the two municipalities. The project was carried out by Conservation Resources and a project team (PT) comprised of representatives of the environmental commissions, open space committees and historic committees of the two towns.
The PT conducted public outreach activities to inform officials, residents and stakeholders about the trails project and solicit their input. Conservation Resources helped design and participate in all public presentations related to the project and provided advice and recommendations on potential follow-up actions to implement the plan.
The environmental commissions presented the final trails plan to their respective planning boards with a recommendation for adoption and incorporation into the municipal master plans.
The Goals of the Plan are:
1. Create a system of existing and future trails to connect Chesters’ natural and cultural resources with broad public comment.
- Identify and map existing and potential trails that connect existing parks and open spaces.
- Identify and map suitable historic, art, agricultural and other cultural and commercial resources that are key to community viability and should be considered for connection to the trail system.
- Create a GIS database and web-based platform for effectively communicating information about existing trails and the trails plan.
2.Ensure the trail system is safe and provides for a variety of users and experiences.
- Review the trail system to allow for diversity in the uses, for those seeking different balances of exercise, reflection, observation, isolation, or camaraderie.
- Evaluate the system to make sure it provides for a variety of abilities and terrain for the following uses: hiking, running, walking, biking, canoeing, fishing, and hunting.
- Recommend improvements to existing trails and the creation of new pedestrian walkways, bicycle paths, and traffic lights to facilitate safe passage where appropriate.
- Provide mock up of trail maps and signs for public comment.
3. Integrate the Chester trail system with other regional trail systems and other land use plans.
- Have both Chester Township and Chester Borough adopt and incorporate the trails plan into their master plans.
- Work with Morris County GIS to integrate the plan into their existing trails mapping initiative.
4.Create a land management plan for 50 North Road and Tanners Brook Preserve. Click here for a copy of the 50 North Road land management plan.
- Collect available data from existing sources, ground truth and create additional data.
- Seek public input into things that should be included.
- Leverage online tools to communicate and involve public in process.
- Create a GIS database of trails and points of interest accessible to the public.
- Make recommendations for existing and potential trails. Include a mock-up of maps, trail signs, online tools to access trails etc…
- Create budget for each of the recommendations as well as identify potential sources of funding.
- Review existing master plans for both of the Chesters and determine how best to integrate recommendations into their master plans.
- Present trails plan to Planning Board for adoption and incorporation into their master plans.