Western New Jersey

Phillipsburg's Morris Canal Greenway is now open

Ribbon cut at Morris Canal Greenway

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Outdoor enthusiasts can now take a historic walk in Phillipsburg as the town opens the first part of a canal greenway that will eventually connect New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The cut of a ribbon, plenty of people walking, and a lot of history on South Main Street in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

"One hundred years, almost 100 years after the Morris Canal closed and we're putting it back together piece by piece, creating the Morris Canal Greenway Trail," said historian Andrea Proctor.

The Morris Canal was completed in 1831.

Boats transported goods like coal.

Now, the town of Phillipsburg has completed the first section, an area that just months ago was a trash dumping ground.

"It feels like a revival of the town,” said James Lee Jr., his grandmother was born on a Morris canal boat. “Having lost a lot of our industry, something like this can really go a long way to making people feel better about their town."

The .10 of a mile trail is filled with historical reader boards and a replica boat.

The name on the boat, Rachel 713, has a special meaning for James Lee Jr.

It was the name of his grandfather's boat when the canal was in operation. 

"She walked behind the mules and kept the mules moving while my grandfather steered the canal boat," Lee said about his grandmothers role in traversing the canal.

The goal in 2017, complete more sections of the trail and eventually have it go all the way to the Delaware river, eventually connecting Phillipsburg to Easton via a trestle trail project in the works.

"That'll bring hundreds of thousands of people,” Phillipsburg mayor Stephen Ellis said.

This section of the Morris Canal Greenway is now open and the mayor says he’s hoping plenty of people take advantage of it.

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