Originating as a vision from nearly 45 years ago, the first stretch of the Lake Hopatcong trail is now open and ready to be explored. The Lake Hopatcong Foundation and the entire Lake Hopatcong community worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality.
To get the trail to where it is today, many people spent their Saturdays and days off volunteering their time to clearing out the trail. Matthew Karpiak from Boy Scout Troop 88 especially helped by installing 13 access signs and contributing to the completion of the trail. The Foundation also received a grant, which helped tremendously in completing the first leg of the trail.
The trail was built to encourage residents to go outside, get a better appreciation for what Lake Hopatcong has to offer, and connect with the nature and history of the area. In fact, the trail’s start resembles the history of the Appalachian Trail, which started in Hopatcong as well in the 1920s.
The nine-mile trail will now be open to the public and the access point from Hopatcong State Park will be open from 8 am-8 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day and sunrise to sunset during off peak season. A map is available on the Lake Hopatcong Foundation website.
The trail will continue to be built and connect Byram, Stanhope, Hopatcong, Mt. Arlington, Jefferson, and Roxbury. The towns are working independently to complete the trail, but most of the trail has already been mapped out by these towns. The Foundation is hoping to connect this trail to the Morris County trail network as well.
The Mayor of Hopatcong, Mike Francis, said, “The key word here is vision. Once we find our vision, we must materialize that vision even if it takes a village,” and that is exactly what the community has done.