Runners and triathletes Angie Dello (left) and Tracey Swenson (right) love running and biking on Byram's trails.
photo provided by Angie Dello
By Laurie Gordon
BYRAM — Byram Township is known as the "Gateway to New Jersey Trails." When it comes to hiking, biking, running and sightseeing, their trails are phenomenal and they want everyone to know about them. Now, learning their location and what Byram's trails are all about is much easier thanks to the Township's new Trails page.
“In 2016, the Byram Township Environmental Commission received an ANJEC Open Space Stewardship Grant to enhance the trail’s section of our website by reorganizing and presenting more information on our trail network,” said Doris J. Flynn, Byram's Municipal clerk/Deputy Manager. “In combination with Navitend, Byram staff and the Environmental Commission, a Trails Icon was added on the home page linking people to an informative, interactive trail’s page with photos of each trail, overview, description, GPS information, link to google maps and our trail map. We are also working on promoting eco-tourism, which is in line with our Sustainable Economic Development Plan for Byram.”
Flynn said they are using using social media, Council meetings, and local advertisements to spread the word about the trails page. “In addition, we are celebrating the opening of Tamarack Park on May 13, which will start with a hike of Tamarack Trail, followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Park,” she said. “During the festivities, we will be highlighting all the trails in Byram. We also will be sponsoring monthly trail hikes. The Recreation Department will prepare a press release by April 1.”
Flynn deemed Tamarack Park Trail – a 1.6 mile trail with spectacular views and ample parking at C.O. Johnson and Tamarack Park-- the Township's most popular trail. “The Tamarack Park Trail connects to one spur of the Cranberry Overlook Trail, to other trails in Allamuchy Mountain State Park and to the Sussex Branch Trail, both located across Route 206 from Jones Lane,” she said.
The trails in Byram are certainly utilized. “Many of our volunteers on all of our committees enjoy using our trails, as well as our youth, parents and seniors,” Flynn said.
Angie Dello is a runner and triathlete who does a lot of her training in Sussex County. “The NJ Trail running venues are among the most beautiful in our country,” she said. “We are lucky enough to enjoy trail running, mountain biking, snowshoeing ,cross country skiing and hiking during our different seasons.”
One of Dello's training buddies is Tracey Swenson, who lives in Sparta near the Byram boarder. “I love the trails. I go there for running and mountain biking and there's a lot of variety in their trail system... you can get fast-track, hills, rocks and roots all in one place.” Swenson added, “ I also really enjoy the trail runs from the restaurant Salt with the running club 'Salt Shakers' which winds through the Cramberry Lake area. The Salt runners are truly masters of those amazing trails.”
Ultra runner and marathoner Dean Giereng, said, “I love the Byram trails for training. There's the railbed Sussex Branch Trail which leads to areas further north. This offers a lot of distance with beautiful views along the way. If I'm in the mood for more challenging terrain, I'll run the technical trails in the woods. One of my favorites is the hilly climb leading to a scenic overlook. The Byram trails are fantastic for many activities. I always see people out there hiking, biking and just enjoying nature.”
Jim Stark, of Newton, said, “One reason I prefer trail running over roads is the challenge and the variety of terrain (mud, puddles, rocks, roots) which tends to keep my mind off the pain I am feeling when I run hard. Another factor is safety because I don’t have to worry about traffic. The other advantage is the possibility of getting lost, which adds an element of mystery to a run. I mountain bike on the rail bed too.”
The Byram trails include Briar Ridge Park Trails, Brookwood Park and Trail, C.O. Johnson Park Paths, Cat Swamp Connector, Cranberry Overlook Trail, Glenside Woods, Jefferson Glen Bike Path,