First there was the Rancocas Creek, then came Medford. In the earliest days, native Americans found food, water and shelter along the banks of the Rancocas and used the river as their highway. In the 17th century, settlers made their way up the Rancocas. They cleared land, developed farms, harvested lumber, built mills and later developed iron and glass industries. The creek served them as a conduit for trade and commerce. In the 19th century, railroads took over this function. Now the stream became an important source of recreation. The early settlement along the banks of the Rancocas became Medford and still exists as the Historic Medford Village along Main Street at the upper end of the Medford Canoe Trail. The village offers canoe trail users restaurants, accommodations and shopping, as well as historic sightseeing.
The Medford Canoe Trail Committee (MCTC) was organized to open the creek to recreation again. The goal of this committee is to make usable a two and one half mile stretch of the Rancocas starting in Medford Park near the public library and ending at Kirby’s Mill. REI Inc. has donated $4,500 for brochures and for information kiosks. Obstructions have been cleared (link to Clean-up Day slideshow) and launch sites are being improved to allow paddlers of all ages to experience the pleasures of this beautiful stream that is so close to our homes.
The committee is grateful for the efforts by the Medford’s Town Council, Town Manager Michael J. Achey, Public Works Director George Snyder and the members of the Public Works and Recreation Departments for help in completing the trail. We also acknowledge the advice, guidance and hands-on efforts of members of our community, the Rancocas Conservancy, the Burlington Cty. Parks Department, the Outdoor Club of South Jersey, Camp Dark Waters and the Medford Historical Society.
(Pictured above during the Canoe Trail opening last year were from left: Bernard Mayer, Canoe Trail Chairman, Peter Rocco, REI Inc., Walt Urban, Medford Township Council, Chris Jage, Rancocas Conservancy, Rob Hofstrum, Rancocas Conservancy, and Philip DiMartino, Medford Township Recreation Dept.)
MEDFORD CANOE TRAIL COMMITTEE
Chairman: Bernard C. Mayer
Members: Beth Richmond, Philip DiMartino, Becca Gutwirth, Robert Hofstrom, Peter Rocco, Patricia Rosvold, Kevin Sparkman, Dottie Spellman, Larry Spellman, Gwen Sparkman (Website)
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