The idea for an interconnected system of open spaces, parks and
recreation areas in the City of Camden dates back to the 1920s,
when Cooper River Linear Park was first envisioned to include a
scenic boulevard, tidal basin lined with cherry trees and a riverfront
park. Today’s Camden Greenway project expands that vision dramatically,
to include a continuous system of open space for recreation and
environmental enhancement along the shorelines of the Cooper and
Delaware Rivers and Newton Creek and promotes economic development
in adjacent neighborhoods. Through our work in the Camden Greenway
project area, New Jersey Conservation Foundation is working to make this vision a reality.
Read about a Camden teen's love for the Cooper River >>
Our work on the Camden Greenway project began in the mid-1980s,
when we acquired the first conservation and recreation easement
from the Will-Son Corporation, a nursing home operator. Since then,
New Jersey Conservation Foundation has assisted the City of Camden in acquiring easements and
land along the Cooper River, connecting Camden County’s Cooper River
Park with parks on the Delaware River.
In addition to its acquisition work, New Jersey Conservation Foundation recognizes the opportunity
the Greenway plan presents for positive transformation in the community.
Our Grants-In-Aid program has provided multiple grants to motivate
local citizens’ groups to further their organizational development,
support strategic planning and incorporate greenways in the City
of Camden’s Master Plan.
Redevelopment of Camden’s waterfront is a major initiative and
we are getting involved in ensuring that the greenway is a part
of the ongoing redevelopment process. The greenway project is focused
on providing parks, trails and natural areas for local residents
and their neighborhoods demonstrating they are as closely intertwined
with each other as the rivers are with the City.
Through a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation, New Jersey Conservation Foundation
opened a new Camden regional office. We share the office
with the local conservation group, Camden Greenways, Inc., and our
professional staff provides assistance with land acquisition and
Our work in Camden confronts us with issues that have statewide
implications for us in other urban areas. For example, we’re learning
how to overcome the technical, regulatory and legal hurdles of converting
brownfields into viable parks and natural areas. Brownfields are
abandoned, idled or underused industrial and commercial facilities
where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived
Establishing greenways in the City of Camden positively impacts
its communities by providing areas for safe and accessible recreational,
educational and leisure activities. These greenways also influence
economic growth and community development, which ultimately improves
the quality of life for all Camden residents.
In addition, the Camden Greenways project helps demonstrate a statewide
interconnected greenway in an urban setting. The project is part
of the first public planning effort to utilize data from New Jersey Conservation Foundation's
State Greenways mapping project. The Delaware Valley Regional
Planning Commission incorporated Garden State Greenways data to
develop Camden County’s greenway-based open space plan.
To learn more about NJCF’s conservation efforts in Camden, please
contact Chris Jage, Assistant Director for South Jersey, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-567-2112