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Musconetcong Island Park: A Collaborative Effort to Create Accessible Public Space

April 21, 2023

By Steven Gransky, MWA Communications and Development Manager

The Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) hosted a celebration of the grand opening of Musconetcong Island Park on April 21, 2023, in honor of Earth Day in the Asbury, NJ.

The event was attended by several dignitaries, including Senator Doug Steinhardt, Hunterdon County Commissioner Susan Soloway, Bethlehem Township Mayor Paul Muir and Deputy Mayor Judy Nelson, MWA President Richard Cotton, and MWA Executive Director Thomas Dallessio. Officials from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Harrington Contractors were also present.

During the celebration, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held, and speeches were given by Mayor Muir, President Cotton, and Executive Director Dallessio. The park is the result of the MWA's efforts to create a safe and accessible public space on the quarter-acre island in the Musconetcong River, which contained a former mill building donated by Asbury Carbons to the MWA in 1999.

President Cotton stated, "Restoring the land to a more natural state and providing access for fishing, kayaking and other activities fulfills our vision of making the Watershed more accessible, resilient, and sustainable for future generations."

Executive Director Dallessio noted, "This project is the result of a collaborative effort between MWA, the NJ Green Acres Program, the National Park Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Coca Cola Foundation, and we are grateful for their support."

The former lab building of the Asbury Graphite Mill was located on the island and was donated to the MWA along with the Asbury Mill and its current headquarters, the River Resource Center. However, due to its prolonged disuse, the building became unsafe and was located in a floodway. As part of the park's development, the MWA undertook a multi-year-long project to safely demolish the dilapidated lab building. This involved reconstructing the stairway and making other improvements to the foundation to provide safe access to the area, as well as installing an interpretative sign that shares the history of the region.

Musconetcong Island Park, located at 152 Asbury West Portal Road, is a privately-owned space, but the Musconetcong River is a National Wild & Scenic River and part of the National Wild & Scenic River system overseen by the National Park Service. The park offers various recreational activities, including fishing, kayaking, and other water-based activities, fulfilling the MWA's vision of making the watershed more accessible, resilient, and sustainable for future generations.

Read more about the island's history here:



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