Join the Lawrence Hopewell Trail Saturday Morning Walking Club on a trek through this 183-acre pastoral preserved site

Take a walk through the sublime 183-acre Carson Road Woods with the Lawrence Hopewell Trail Saturday Morning Walking Club on Saturday, July 10, when participants will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Woods.

Located in Lawrence Township, Carson Road Woods features beautiful fields, great trails – including the Lawrence Hopewell Trail – some wild critters, a beech forest, and wild grapes, blackberries and mockernuts, among other features.

For this occasion, all who join with the Saturday Morning Walking Club will walk approximately three miles, crisscrossing through different parts of the Woods.

LHT SMWC Carson Road Woods

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

At 9:30 a.m., John Marshall, president of Carson Road Woods, will offer some brief remarks about the 20th anniversary of the Woods before the walkers set off from the parking lot off Carson Road, which connects with Province Line Road at the nearest intersection. (See more on the CRW history below.)

The walk is expected to run from 9:30 to 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.

Just a reminder here that everyone who joins an LHT Saturday morning walk should consider themselves thereafter as club members. The monthly walks, which typically take place the second Saturday of the month, introduce people to the various parts of the 20-plus miles of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail. Club members get to know the trail and each other, enjoy some great and varied scenery and burn some calories in the process. What’s not to like?

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.