The project continues to bring students, parents, coaches, teachers, administrators, town officials, and community volunteers together towards a simple purpose – make the JJTrail a reality.
The initial project was undertaken by students and coaches who came up with the idea of a John Jay trail in the first place way back in 2013. Read about that here.
The school campus has over 200 acres of property in Cross River. The John Jay High School cross country team has had multiple county, section, and state champion teams over the last 8 years.
However, the team had no true home course to train and hold official meets on. But we are close to that goal!
Challenges & Requirements
The JJTrail project has several challenges and requirements:
- The north branch of the Cross River divides the school property and cuts off access to the wooded portion on the west half.
- There is a significant DEC wetlands area the trail goes through (see map), meaning we need multiple boardwalks to cross these muddy and boggy areas. It also necessitated obtaining DEC and other agency permits to do construction in the wetlands area.
- The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHAA) – has requirements for cross country race courses including having trails used for competition be at least 6 feet wide.
- The Katonah-Lewisboro School District included a requirement that the trail be accessible via the Gator utility vehicle in case an injured person needs to be evacuated.
The bridges and boardwalks also need to be:
- strong enough to hold the Gator and be
- anchored securely enough to the ground that a runner exiting a boardwalk does not cause the opposite end to kick up, potentially interfering with a trailing runner.
The current design of all bridges and boardwalks has taken all constraints and requirements into account. The structures are solid and can accommodate large groups of runners going at full speed. We have successfully traversed the completed bridges and boardwalks with the Gator many times. All construction will continue to follow these specifications and we anticipate no issues.
The trail clearing was begun in 2014 and was completed in 2016. The trail segments include:
- Clearing and widening the 1/4 mile “pit trail” from the Pit field to river crossing 1 (site of Bridge 1)
- Clearing and widening the 1.25 mile “south loop” from river crossing 1 to river crossing 2 (site of Bridge 2) via the Michelle Estates / Town of Lewisboro right of way.
- Clearing and widening the 3/4 mile “wetland trail” from river crossing 2 up to John Jay Middle School (site of ropes course).
- Clearing and widening the 1/4 mile “extension trail” from the Pit Field up to the dirt student parking lot.
- To be done: The “Final Link” trail – see bottom of page.
Construction Sites & Status
The construction sites to date include:
Wetlands Trail Section
- Bridge 1 – over river crossing 1 (COMPLETED October 2017)
- Causeway – between river crossing 1 and river crossing 2 (Survey only temporary construction causeway present now, will be replaced with proper boardwalk starting August 2019)
- Bridge 2 with attached boardwalk – over river crossing 2 (Bridge COMPLETED April 2018, Boardwalk COMPLETED May 2019)
- Boardwalk 1 (COMPLETED May 2019)
- Boardwalk 2 (COMPLETED June 2019)
- Boardwalk 3-4 (COMPLETED August 2019)
- Boardwalk 5 (COMPLETED July 2019)
- Boardwalk 6 (COMPLETED July 2019)
- Note: the sites are numbered in the order they occur on the trail from the Pit Field up to John Jay Middle School
There is a solo boardwalk needed between the JJMS field and the Pit Field where the ground is saturated and always muddy. See original survey map included with this 2015 article for location.
- Frog Hollow Boardwalk (begun August 2019)
Final Link Bridge and Boardwalks
The Final Link Trail will go uphill 1/4 mile from the far side of Bridge 3 up to the John Jay Contest Field, on the far side of the ravine, and traversing the school district-owned woods behind the Meadows Condominiums and the Orchard Square Shopping Center.
- Bridge 3 aka “The Championship Bridge” (Foundation digging begun July 2019, materials on site)
At least one — and possibly two — boardwalks will be necessary on this final trail segment which has been surveyed but not yet cut.
- Final Link Boardwalks (planned start August 2019)