Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes cuts the ribbon on the newest stretch of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, on the grounds of Bristol Myers Squibb in Lawrence.

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes cuts the ribbon on the newest stretch of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, on the grounds of Bristol Myers Squibb in Lawrence.
At an Earth Day ceremony, the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) officially opened two beautiful trail segments and at the same time connected its two major corporate partners in the ambitious 22-mile community project.

Held on the Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Lawrenceville campus, the ribbon-cutting ceremony showcased the community and corporate cooperation that has been a hallmark of the LHT since its inception 10 years ago. The new, nearly mile-long section of trail among the sycamore trees on the BMS campus runs along Province Line Road before turning down Carson Road. The trail then crosses Carson Road, into Lawrence Township’s Carson Road Woods, where it continues for one and a half miles. This red stone dust section was also completed in the fall of 2011 and offers some of the most scenic views in Lawrence Township’s collection of community parks.

After a short link on township roads, the LHT crosses Rosedale Road and on to the campus of Educational Testing Service, (ETS). ETS, along with BMS, are the leading corporate supporters of the LHT. With the opening of these segments, the LHT now has over four miles of continuous, family-friendly trail open to area walkers, bikers and joggers on the southeastern side of its 22-plus mile trail loop.

“The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when passionate people work together to build a greener future,” said Sue Voigt, Bristol-Myers Squibb Vice-President for Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability.  “Although the trail has been in development for about a decade, growing link by link across the two communities for which it is named, the segment we dedicate today serves as a symbolic starting point for the 20-plus-mile loop that aims to be completed later this year,” she said.

Also helping to mark the Earth Day and cut the ribbon was one of the trail’s earliest public supporters, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes.  “Since the inception of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, I have been proud to be associated with this group and its focus on public and private community connections and environmentally sensitive goals, and we have tried to support them whenever possible,” said Hughes.

“I am happy to help in whatever way I can today to commemorate 10 years of vision and hard work and community service by the LHT board. Congratulations to all of you for your efforts and keep up the good work,” Hughes continued.  “Your finish line is in sight.”

“What better way to celebrate Earth Day in our community, than with one of our most important corporate partners, one of our most dedicated community groups, with a connection through one of the most beautiful parks we have in Lawrence Township,” said Mayor Jim Kownacki. “I want to salute and congratulate all of you involved in making this important project a true community asset. On behalf of Lawrence Township, thanks very much for all your hard work.”

The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is a nonprofit, community-based organization developing a 22-plus mile safe, family-friendly trail through the Lawrence and Hopewell communities. Seventy-two percent of the trail is usable now.; the remainder is planned for completion in the next couple years.

The LHT’s board is made up of community leaders, interested citizens and two major area employers. It started in 2002 when a group of community leaders met at Bristol-Myers Squibb to begin an effort to create a trail for safe, off-road biking and walking.  Hopewell and Lawrence Township officials, state and county government representatives and several private organizations including Educational Testing Service, joined the group, and an independent nonprofit organization was formed to build a biking and walking trail.

See attached map for further details. Check the website for up-to-date information on trail sections and upcoming events: www.lhtrail.org.

Contact: Michael Gray, project manager, Lawrence Hopewell Trail – mngray36@comcast.net cell: 732-668-9505.

PHOTOS: Cie Stroud:  cie@ciestroud.com cell: 609-731-2195.
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