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Half Marathon and 5K Run to Help ‘Rehabilitate’ Park’s NJ Trails

The first-ever “Escape to the Palisades” run along Henry Hudson Drive in the Palisades Interstate Park promotes health and environmental stewardship.

The Palisades Parks Conservancy announced its inaugural “Escape to the Palisades” Half Marathon and 5K Family Run, an event beginning at Ross Dock in Fort Lee and showcasing the Palisades, while promoting physical and mental health and stewardship of the environment.

Proceeds from the event that takes place in early May go toward the rehabilitation of roads and trails in the New Jersey section of the Palisades Interstate Park.

Organizers of the event said they believe the value of recreation and preservation are critical components of a healthy life.

“By focusing on goal-setting, health, fitness, and well-being, we want to promote and grow involvement in a competitive sporting activity,” said Carol-Lynn Ward of the Palisades Parks Conservancy in an email. “We are focused on educating the community about physical and mental health while generating funds for the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, whose mission is ‘to preserve natural, historic, and cultural resources for public recreational enjoyment and educational purposes.’”

The half marathon and 5K will take place on Henry Hudson Drive, which begins at the border of Edgewater and Fort Lee and winds along the Hudson River for seven miles.

“During the Great Depression, hundreds of Civilian Conservation Corps workers built thousands of cubic yards of retaining walls running above this magnificent road,” Ward said. “Today, portions of the retaining walls and road need to be fixed to enable continued access and use for park visitors.”

The Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC)’s New Jersey Section maintains Allison Park, Alpine Boat Basin & Picnic Area, Englewood Boat Basin & Picnic Area, , Park Headquarters, Ross Dock Park and The Kearney House.

It features miles of trails comprising “some of the most charming bits of wilderness within a half hour of New York City,” according to Ward. 

“Proper restoration and maintenance of trails is needed to protect these natural wonders against foot traffic and spread of invasive species,” Ward said.

Among PIPC’s “important firsts,” according to the organization, are the following:

  • First interstate institution formed solely for the conservation of scenic features (1900)
  • First nature and science education museum (1920)
  • First section of the Appalachian Trail was blazed in Harriman State Park (1923)
  • First nature trail (1925)
  • First system of organized group camping (1906)
  • Most visited park system in the East, with more than five million visitors annually (1925)
  • Ratified by an Act of U.S. Congress (1937)
  • First “scenic highway,” Henry Hudson Drive (construction began in 1912)

“[The half marathon and 5K run] along that first scenic highway, Henry Hudson Drive, is destined to be another important first for the Commission,” Ward said.

Registration for the 5K run is $40; for the half Marathon it’s $85.

The first-ever “Escape to the Palisades” Half Marathon and 5K Family Run is Sunday, May 6, starting at 9 a.m. at Ross Dock in Fort Lee.

For more information visit the Palisades Parks Conservancy online.

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