Walking is IN: ratpag Declares 2015 the Year of Walking

ratpag’s New Jersey correspondent was inspired by the recent book review about Wayne Curtis’s The Last Great Walk.  Believe it or not, your correspondent enjoys walking.  He participated in ratpag’s Four Bridge Challenge.  Here are four other walks your correspondent recommends.

The Spring Lake Boardwalk

The Spring Lake Boardwalk may be one of the nicest walks in the state of New Jersey.  Two miles of level terrain with an ocean view.  Rail and transit service is available to within two-thirds of a mile of the walking path.

Spring Lake boardwalk

Spring Lake boardwalk

Looking at the picture of the boardwalk, and considering the weather outside, ratpag’s New Jersey correspondent is cold!  Have you seen the weather forecast?!  Can you imagine reading this in the summertime, and being transported back in time by reading about the cold weather?!

Imagine that the same train that takes you home from a bitter cold night at Times Square on New Years Eve could take you to a warm summer day at the beach a few months later.

The Notch Trail

Notch Trail in the Badlands

Notch Trail in the Badlands

This one is outside New Jersey:  all the way out in South Dakota!  Walking in Badlands National Park was one of the highlights of ratpag’s investigation of life without rail and transit.  Unfortunately, there is not much rail-and-transit news in South Dakota, but your correspondent did find this story about changes to the rail maintenance crews in North Dakota.

And, speaking of North Dakota, the fracking oil boom is focused there, and that has completely changed the rail traffic around the country.  Various states and the federal government have given over $80 million to freight railroads to make it more efficient to transport oil (despite having a lot of reservations about oil trains, your correspondent is totally in favor of government spending on railroad infrastructure).  As an example of how the government can spend money to improve the rail network, Minnesota may spend up to $300 million to improve rail crossings.  And, the rail oil boom may be affecting electricity prices, since it takes away capacity to transport the coal used to fire power plants.  So, when you pay for electricity, you may be paying the price for cheap oil.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park in Utah

Arches National Park in Utah

This one is also outside New Jersey. If you are in Utah, you should definitely go for a walk in Arches National Park.  Arches National Park is only a 14 hour drive from San Francisco, so it’s not too hard to see, if you visit California.  And, when you visit California, San Francisco is becoming a model for pedestrian transportation:  They closed the Golden Gate Bridge to passenger cars!

Speaking of bridge closures, this correspondent’s governor closed lanes near the George Washington Bridge!  And, the governor has recently released a report that may support building a new rail tunnel to NYC.   Now, of course, this same governor cancelled a rail tunnel that had an actual funding program and real design plans.  And, this plan has no real design, no funding, and no construction schedule.  It would require massive upgrades to Penn Station and land acquisition in Midtown Manhattan.  So your correspondent is a little skeptical that it will actually happen.

Stokes State Forest

Stokes State Forest near the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey

Stokes State Forest near the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey

Coming back to New Jersey, Stokes State Forest provides miles and miles of walking trails.  This one is a little tricky to get to by rail-and-transit, but Yahoo Answers has some suggestions.  If you visit Stokes State Forest from the New York City region, as the ratpag team did, you can stop for dinner on the way back to the City.  We would recommend the Outback Steak House on Route 46 in Parsippany.  Only a 3 mile walk from the Mountain Lakes Train Station.

If you cannot make it to the Outback, ratpag recommends a pot of chili.

Campfire chili

Campfire chili

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