As 9/11 National Memorial Trail Receives Unanimous Congressional and Presidential Approval, Attention Turns to Securing Essex-Hudson Greenway Success

October 26, 2021 |

Essex-Hudson Greenway Represents a Significant New Jersey Component of Intended 1,300-mile Memorial Trail 

Northern New Jersey – October 26, 2021 – Following unanimous Congressional and Presidential approval of the 9/11 National Memorial Trail, the Essex-Hudson Greenway Coalition today renewed its call for the creation of the Essex-Hudson Greenway, a critical component of the newly designated federal trail. The national designation of the 9/11 National Memorial Trail – a 1,300-mile multi-use route that links the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Flight 93 Memorial – was led by the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, a major coalition partner in the Essex-Hudson Greenway Project.

The 9/11 National Memorial Trail is a “Trail of Remembrance” developed to honor the almost 3,000 heroes of 9/11 and all of our first responders. The trail, which extends across six states and the District of Columbia, is a living monument that ensures that people never forget America’s worst terrorist attack, the country’s resilience, and its resolve in the face of adversity.

“We are so grateful for the unanimous support of the House, Senate and the White House in the recognition of this network of trails and multi-use paths, and the potential that the trail will allow Americans to remember, discover and connect with the history and the sacrifice of September 11, 2001,” said Andrew Hamilton, President, Board of Trustees of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance. “The Essex-Hudson Greenway represents an integral and significant part of the 9/11 National Memorial Trail in northern New Jersey. Now that our federal leaders have paved the way for the future of this commemorative trail network to honor our fallen heroes, it is time for the State of New Jersey to ensure that the opportunity for these crucial nine miles of proposed Greenway does not slip away. The time is now!”

Introduced by Reps. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Don Beyer (D-VA), the bill officially recognizing the 9/11 National Memorial Trail passed unanimously in both houses of Congress.  The trail is a triangular route passing through some of the most beautiful and historic parts of the United States. Starting at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, the intended trail will extend northwest to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It will then continue east to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in Lower Manhattan. The trail will then head south following the existing East Coast Greenway to connect to the 9/11 Memorial Garden of Reflection in Yardley, Pennsylvania, then to the National Mall in Washington D.C., ultimately returning to the Pentagon.

“We congratulate the hard work of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance in their 20+ year effort to bring the 9/11 National Memorial Trail to national recognition. We deeply appreciate their commitment to the project and their equally faithful commitment to the Essex-Hudson Greenway,” said Debra Kagan, Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, another major project partner.  “The Essex-Hudson Greenway represents a clear, irrefutable solution to the need for infrastructure improvements here in New Jersey and we urge swift action by the Murphy administration.”

For walkers, runners, cyclists, hikers, and others, the proposed Essex-Hudson Greenway would create a linear park and multi-use trail connecting Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus, and Jersey City. Local community leaders have been calling for the creation of a linear park on the former rail line property to create a safe, off-road trail to ride a bike and walk; ease traffic and offer active transportation options; create alternate commuting options; provide close-to-home, easy access to the outdoors; and bring much needed greenspace to urban communities that are traditionally and negatively impacted by infrastructure development.
In July 2020, the Open Space Institute (OSI) reached a preliminary purchase and sale agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company for property in Essex and Hudson Counties for the purpose of the Greenway. The purchase agreement has a sale deadline of January 2022.

About Open Space Institute
Founded more than four decades ago, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has partnered in the protection of 2.3 million acres across eastern North America from Quebec to Florida. Over the past 16 years, OSI has worked to protect more than 21,000 acres of New Jersey farms, forests, and local parkland within the Highlands, the Pinelands, the Bayshore, and the heavily developed northeastern suburbs. In addition to the Essex Hudson Greenway, OSI’s current projects include efforts to help protect land and improve water quality in the Delaware River Basin and provide public access to the 1,200-acre Jersey City Reservoir in Boonton and Parsippany.

About New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition
The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition (NJBWC) is the only statewide advocacy organization for bicyclists and pedestrians and provides a collective voice for everyone who believes that a more rideable and walkable New Jersey means a more livable, equitable, and sustainable New Jersey.  NJBWC officially adopted the Essex Hudson Greenway Project in 2014 and has been a leader in building the advocacy campaign to make it a reality.

About the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance
The September 11th National Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile system of trails and roadways that links the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The route serves as a symbol of national resiliency and character and as a tribute to the fallen heroes who perished on September 11, 2001, and the many heroes who have committed themselves to the response for their country.