9/11 National Memorial Trail receives approval in DC, attention turns to Essex–Hudson Greenway

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Following unanimous Congressional and presidential approval of the 9/11 National Memorial Trail, the Essex–Hudson Greenway Coalition has renewed its call for the creation of the proposed park, a critical component of the newly designated federal trail. The national designation of the 9/11 National Memorial Trail — a 1,300-mile multi-use route that links the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Flight 93 Memorial — was led by the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, a major coalition partner in the Essex–Hudson Greenway Project.

The proposed Essex–Hudson Greenway would create a linear park and multi-use trail connecting Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus, and Jersey City.

The 9/11 National Memorial Trail is a “Trail of Remembrance” developed to honor the almost 3,000 victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and the first responders. The trail extends across six states and the District of Columbia.

“We are so grateful for the unanimous support of the House, Senate and the White House in the recognition of this network of trails and multi-use paths, and the potential that the trail will allow Americans to remember, discover and connect with the history and the sacrifice of Sept. 11, 2001,” said Andrew Hamilton, board president of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance. “The Essex–Hudson Greenway represents an integral and significant part of the 9/11 National Memorial Trail in northern New Jersey. Now that our federal leaders have paved the way for the future of this commemorative trail network to honor our fallen heroes, it is time for the state of New Jersey to ensure that the opportunity for these crucial 9 miles of proposed greenway does not slip away. The time is now!” 

Introduced by U.S. Reps. Gerald E. Connolly, D-VA; Brian Fitzpatrick, R-PA; and Don Beyer, D-VA, the bill officially recognizing the 9/11 National Memorial Trail passed unanimously in both houses of Congress. The trail is a triangular route passing through some of the most beautiful and historic parts of the United States. Starting at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va., the intended trail will extend northwest to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. It will then continue east to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan. The trail will then head south following the existing East Coast Greenway to connect to the 9/11 Memorial Garden of Reflection in Yardley, Pa., then to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., ultimately returning to the Pentagon.

“We congratulate the hard work of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance in their 20-plus–year effort to bring the 9/11 National Memorial Trail to national recognition. We deeply appreciate their commitment to the project and their equally faithful commitment to the Essex–Hudson Greenway,” said Debra Kagan, executive director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, another major project partner. “The Essex–Hudson Greenway represents a clear, irrefutable solution to the need for infrastructure improvements here in New Jersey and we urge swift action by the Murphy administration.”

In July 2020, the Open Space Institute reached a preliminary purchase and sale agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company for property in Essex and Hudson counties for the purpose of the greenway. The purchase agreement has a sale deadline of January 2022.