Walk to Celebrate 20th Anniversary of Carson Road Woods Won’t be Tomorrow

The planned Lawrence Hopewell Trail walk through Carson Road Woods is postponed until next Saturday, July 17, starting at 9:30 a.m.

While the LHT Saturday Morning Walking Club had planned to convene in Carson Road Woods on July 10, the walk — and the trails themselves — were a washout, thanks to Tropic Storm Elsa. The 1.5 inches of rain Elsa’s dumped over the last day — on top of previous heavy rainfall this week — left too much of this beautiful segment of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail literally under water to accommodate a walk tomorrow.

LHT SMWC Carson Road Woods

July 10 trail route in Carson Road Woods. Google Map.

Walking club members had planned to join with the leadership of the Friends of Carson Road Woods to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Woods a preserved park in Lawrence Township. But as John Marshall, lead for the CRW Friends, reports, the paths are just too wet. And he points out that the blackberries and other edibles along the trail will be even lusher a week from now.

Club members and anyone else who wishes to walk next week are invited to meet at the parking lot off Carson Road, near its intersection with Province Line Road. Walkers will crisscross through approximately three miles of the Woods, enjoying beautiful fields, great trails – including the Lawrence Hopewell Trail – some wild critters, a beech forest, and wild grapes, blackberries and mockernuts, among other features. (See information about the 20-year history of Carson Road Woods below.)

The walk is expected to finish around 11 a.m., after which John and some neighbors have invited all who are interested to stay a bit longer and learn more about Carson Road Woods.

CARSON ROAD WOODS 20TH ANNIVERSARY

Twenty years ago this month, efforts by local, county and state governments, for-profit and non-profit corporations and other entities and more than 300 private citizens culminated with the signing of a contract to purchase 183 acres of land in Lawrence Township. Now known as Carson Road Woods, the parcel had been slated to become the site of a 200-home neighborhood.

In 2001, the D&R Greenway Land Trust led the effort to raise $3 million in private donations – including $1 million from Bristol-Myers Squibb – and brought together funds from Green Acres, Mercer County, the Lawrence Township Conservation Foundation and the N.J. Farmland Preservation Program to purchase the property from a developer.

On December 18 that year, Lawrence Township government permanently preserved it, making it the second largest municipal park. Thus, 183 acres of unspoiled forest and farmland was spared imminent destruction at the hands of the latest in a long line of developers spanning the previous two decades.

Shortly after the initial preservation, an informal group called the “Friends of Carson Road
Woods” began to plan and oversee the transition of the property from an active agricultural area to a passive recreational preserve.

Starting out as a small group of local residents, the Friends quickly grew in number. In July 2003, due to the growing scope of the Friends’ activities, and the public’s overwhelming desire to participate in the continued preservation of the property, the Friends were incorporated as a 501(c)(3) public charity.

As a formal organization, the Friends maintain five miles of marked cinder, turf, and wooded trails. The Friends also organize public nature hikes, conduct guided tours for community groups, lead maintenance crews to keep the property clean and accessible to the public, and have produced an exhaustive historical compendium describing the 300-year history of the property.

The Lawrence Hopewell Trail was incorporated into Carson Road Woods in 2012. It wends its way from nearby neighbor Bristol Myers Squibb on the eastern side of Carson Road through the center of the Woods to Mya Drive off Rosedale Road, continuing on to Educational Testing Service.

For more information, please visit www.carsonroadwoods.com.