By Patch Editor Jessica Mazzola
Since it received approval in May to enter the next phase of renovating Mahwah’s historical Darlington Schoolhouse, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has been launching initiatives to pay for it.
Last week, the NYNJTC announced in a release that this weekend a New Jersey hiking enthusiast will be raising awareness about and funding for the Darlington Schoolhouse renovation by completing a 22-mile hike starting at the organization’s future headquarters.
Mellonie Sanborn of Morris Plains will begin her hike at the schoolhouse - which will be the new headquarters of the Conference after its renovation - and end it at the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Visitor Center at Sterling Forest State Park in New York.
“I enjoy long-distance hikes, and this hike will link two beautiful facilities,” Sanborn said in a release from the Conference. “It will be homage to both, as well as to the late Senator Lautenberg, who did so much to protect our environment.”
The hiker is asking for sponsors to donate to the project on the NYNJTC website. Donators should write, “Go Mellonie!” in the Special Instructions box on the donation page.
The donation-driven hike is happening amidst a big capital campaign the Trail Conference announced last month.
Local philanthropic organization the Bolger Foundation has issued the NYNJTC a challenge. If the organization can raise $1 million by November 1, the Foundation will donate $500,000 toward the completion of the Darlington Schoolhouse renovation and expansion.
The total cost of the project is about $2.5 million. The Conference has already raised $1 million, so the additional $1 million and the Bolger donation would cover most of the cost.
Toward its $1M Bolger goal, the NYNJTC website says the organization has already raised $500,000.
NYNJTC is a volunteer-based organization that maintains 1,850 miles of trails in New York and New Jersey, and provides resources for hikers, like trail maps.