Saturday, March 5, 2011

Roxbury's Ledgewood Inclined Plane, Morris Canal Hike

Have you noticed signs of the Morris Canal system around the area? On September 18, 2010, the Morris County Park Commission [MCPC] Hike-a-Park-a-Month program offered the opportunity to learn more about the Morris Canal when we hiked Roxbury's Ledgewood Canal Basin and experienced firsthand an inclined plane. Who better to share that knowledge than noted Morris Canal historian Joe Macasek.

Ledgewood Pond
During this hike, we learned about the efficiency of an inclined plane for moving canal traffic over different terrain and, more specifically, up a hill without having to construct numerous locks.

We saw the restored turbine chamber where a water-powered turbine pulled barges up the inclined plane.

We visited a nearby mine and then hiked up to a lookout point.

32 intrepid hikers!

Tom Edmunds from MCPC Trails Mapping/GIS summarized the hike as follows:

"We had a most enjoyable time on our September 18 tour & hike at Roxbury’s Ledgewood Canal Basin of the Morris Canal. Joe Macasek (and later, Bob Bodenstein) presented excellent details of the restored turbine chamber of the incline plane and surrounding artifacts. Joe’s talk and handouts were exemplary of the tours he conducts for the MCPC Industrial Heritage walks. 

The hikers, 32 of us, were greeted by Roxbury Councilman Tim Smith and Open Space Committeeman Bill Dluzniewski. Peter Turnbull, Assistant Engineer also joined us. We visited the nearby High Ledge Mine and did a short hike up and over an excellent “lookout” point surrounding the plane, with 3 young ladies guiding us by the trail blazes."

Here follow my photos of Roxbury's Ledgewood Morris Canal Basin. At the end, you'll find my trail map which includes additional photos of the mine part of the hike.

Roxbury Councilman Tim Smith and Open Space Committeeman Bill Dluzniewski greeted us.

Can you believe the size of this? This is what pulled the barges up the inclined plane.

That cable ran down the inclined plane along these sleeper stones. 

Cool debris

Looking down the Inclined Plane

Joe Macasek talking. Photo courtesy of Barbara Page

Those are Joe's feet. Behind him are stairs that overlook the Turbine Chamber.

Going to visit the Turbine Chamber.

Fabulous rock walls

The Turbine Chamber

Remember that photo above of Joe's feet? This chamber is just below that covered section.

Very cool rock formation by the mines
Here is my trail map:

Ledgewood inclined plane Morris Canal

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near Newark, New Jersey

Have you visited Roxbury's Ledgewood inclined plane and Morris Canal Basin? What did you think? What other Morris Canal sections have you visited?

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