The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders is calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to reopen the Henry Hudson Trail.
The Henry Hudson Trail is a paved, 10-foot-wide, 24-mile-long trail that is a former railroad right-of-way.
The northern trail section runs 12 miles (just north of and parallel to Route 36) from the Aberdeen Township-Keyport border at the intersection of Lloyd Road and Clark Street to the Leonardo section of Middletown-Atlantic Highlands border at Avenue D, according to the Monmouth County Park System website.
After sharing the road, the trail resumes at the Atlantic Highlands marina and continues along Sandy Hook Bay to Popamora Point on Atlantic Highlands-Highlands border.
On the southern section, the trail runs 4 miles from Route 537 in Freehold Borough to Big Brook Park in Marlboro. The trail then resumes at Station Road in Marlboro and continues for 5 miles to Church Street in Matawan.
Future plans for the trail include linking the two southern sections of the trail and providing a connection to the original, northern section of the Henry Hudson Trail. The park totals 100 acres, according to the website.
Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone and Monmouth County Park System liaison Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, on behalf of the freeholders, issued the following statement on April 28 regarding the closure of the Henry Hudson Transit Trail:
“When the Governor ordered the closure of all state and county parks on April 7, the Henry Hudson Transit Trail was not included as the Monmouth County Park System maintains it is a transit way, not a recreational trail.
“Meaning, many patrons use the trail to get from one place to another to perform essential functions, such as going to the grocery store and pharmacy, to get to their place of employment as essential personnel, or to access public transportation.
“The complete closure of this transit way causes serious safety issues that cannot be ignored. The Henry Hudson Transit Trail provides a safe way for Monmouth County residents to get to work by providing a way for residents to avoid walking on major highways.
“By design, since there are no open lawns or recreational amenities, patrons have little opportunity to congregate and Monmouth County park rangers and local police have been monitoring the trail to respond as necessary to any reports of gathering.
“The many mayors whose towns are affected by this closure stand in strong support of keeping the trail open to ensure the safety of their residents who will be forced to walk on major highways during its closure.
“It is no secret that we are opposed to the closure of our county parks, which serve as a resource for the mental health and well-being of our residents, but the closure of the Henry Hudson Transit Trail is even more significant as it deals directly with the safety of our residents.
“The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders truly hopes the New Jersey Attorney General will reconsider this closure as we are sure he would agree that the last thing we want to do during this global pandemic is put more lives at risk. Further, we strongly urge Gov. Murphy to reconsider the closure of all county parks,” the freeholders said.