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Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy

Walk the Walkway

June 7, 2015

Southern Liberty State Park

On a top ten weather day of the summer, 15 walkers including 2 HRWC Board members and our unofficial photographer gathered at the Liberty State Park picnic grove to walk the southern end of Liberty State Park (LSP) including Liberty National Golf Club, the LSP bird sanctuary and the Port Liberte Condominiums. Walkers came from Trenton, New York City and the communities along the Hudson River.

After a short discussion of the role of the Conservancy in supporting the development and maintenance of the Walkway, the group headed out at 9:30 beginning with one of the oldest sections of the Walkway. This area was constructed many years ago and is made of blacktop paving. The group stopped to view the waterfront where the Verrazano Bridge, a Celebrity Cruise Lines ship at the Bayonne Cruise Port and the scrap metal export port in southern Jersey City can all be seen.  They highlight the enormous contrasts along the waterfront. The walkers also discussed the massive development proposed by Paul Fireman adjacent to Liberty National Golf Club which he owns. If built, the development would include a 90 story condominium and a casino. The group agreed this area is not right for such a massive development that would minimize Lady Liberty.

The blacktop Walkway passes several abandoned jetties that are now used by fisherman and sun bathers.  One of these has a crude natural ramp into the water that is used by kayakers who bring their kayaks on their car rooftops.  There even are several parking spots reserved for rooftop boat transporters.

The next section of Walkway in LSP is one of the newest sections of the Walkway.  It was built several years ago by the State of NJ after the old Walkway collapsed into the harbor.  This new section is fully compliant with Walkway guidelines and, as a result, did not suffer any damage from Super Storm Sandy. At the south end of the LSP Walkway is a wooden seating area and overlook that had been destroyed by Sandy.  It was good to see it had been rebuilt and again offers a quiet place to sit and enjoy the harbor.

The LSP boat ramp launch was the next Walkway section.  This area has reserved parking for vehicles with boat trailers and a ramp to enable boats to enter the harbor.  There were plenty of trailers parked in the lot indicating many early rising boaters had used the ramp.

After the boat ramp, the Walkway leaves LSP and enters the Liberty National Golf Club.  The Walkway in front of the golf club is an excellent example of a private developer working with the Conservancy and the DEP to integrate the Walkway into the private facilities in a manner that provides protection and full access to the waterfront for walkers without interfering or compromising the functions of the golf club. Unfortunately, this kind of cooperation was not the case at the Bayonne Golf Club when it was constructed.

The golf club adjoins a section of LSP that is reserved as a bird sanctuary. The sanctuary is closed to the public from March to October but there were many species of birds and ducks visible to the group from the Walkway.  A lonely garter snake made an appearance before slithering away into the weeds. In the middle of the bird sanctuary, there is a small stream where the group saw fish, presumably carp, swimming and jumping in the stream. Another major contrast for the frenetic pace of nearby Manhattan.

Passing the sanctuary, the group took a small detour onto the golf course to view the harbor from one of the golf tees.  It has to be the most spectacular golf tee in America.

The group continued into the Port Liberte condominiums where a major portion of the Walkway was totally destroyed by Sandy.  It was wonderful to find that Port Liberte had completely rebuilt the Walkway using sheet pilings which should withstand another storm like Sandy in the future. The Port Liberte Walkway goes past the condominium swimming pool which is right on the edge of the water and has a magnificent view of New York Harbor. The Walkway continues through Port Liberte and ends at the southernmost side of the condominium.

The guided walk ended there with a thank you to the walkers and a reminder that the next Walk the Walkway walk will be on Sunday June 28 under the Bayonne Bridge.

Photo Album (courtesy of Dan Chall)


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