Skillman Park Loop Trail Progress Reported

MONTGOMERY – The committee tasked with developing a comprehensive public-access plan at the 247-acre Skillman Park is continuing the design development of the loop trail and examining other low-intensity uses. 

The most recent meeting of the Skillman Park Planning Committee was held Feb. 25. The committee includes Montgomery Township residents Lysa Wilson and Emad Abou-Sabé, Township Open Space Committee member Clem Fiori, Somerset County Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione and Freeholder Deputy Director Mark Caliguire, and County Administrator Michael J. Amorosa. 

At its meeting the committee discussed the progress of the loop trail design.  The state permit review process is ongoing and the consultant continues to develop the construction plans and details for the approximately 2.25-mile paved trail and three new parking areas.  Once all permits are received, the plans will be completed and the project will be bid.  Construction is expected to begin in mid-May with an anticipated completion in early fall.  

“We are very excited with the progress of the park development and anxious to officially open the park to the public,” said Freeholder Scaglione.  “Significant progress has been made with the site clean-up and the property is taking on a look that was originally envisioned for the park.” 

In addition to the development of the loop trail, the committee discussed other ongoing park improvements. New fencing and trees were installed at the entrances to the park and around the cemetery. With the assistance of local Girl Scout Troop 236, cemetery cleanup has been completed.  The county and municipality continue to work together on a small reforestation project at the site of a former structure and the county is developing a wetlands restoration planting plan for the former Sylvan Lake impoundment area. The committee also continues to discuss other possible low-intensity, passive uses for the park.  

“The development is in keeping with the original intent of a passive-use park,” said Freeholder Caliguire.  “The reforestation and wetlands restoration projects complement the other planned uses nicely and will encourage patrons to utilize the park for nature walks and bird watching.”

The committee will meet again during the summer to discuss the progress of the trail development and to continue discussions for other passive recreational and conservation opportunities within the park.

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