November 20, 2012
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced that the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center's Exhibit Hall will be reopening for the annual Open House, March 23-24, 2013. The Exhibit Hall has been closed for almost a year for renovation and the installation of new exhibits. Educational programming and scheduling and the self-guided trail will not be affected by the Exhibit Hall closure, as programs take place mostly outside and in the auditorium. Hunting and fishing licenses, which were sold in the Exhibit Hall, are now available at a newly constructed visitors services area in the Pequest lobby.
The Pequest Natural Resource Education Center has informed and educated countless visitors for more than 25 years. School children, hunters, anglers, and members of the general public all come to the facility to learn about the Pequest Trout Hatchery, trout, the geology of the region, native wildlife and New Jersey's natural resources.
Some of the exhibits at Pequest were 20 to 30 years old and in need of restoration and replacement. This exciting renovation will include new exhibits, interactive displays, and hands on learning opportunities for children. It will also allow education staff to increase program offerings in an engaging and user friendly environment.
The renovation project is being funded through a 2006 voter approved constitutional amendment that directs a portion of the existing Corporate Business Tax to the DEP for improvements on some 800,000 acres of land administered by the Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Division of Parks and Forestry. The formula approved by voters resulted in the dedication of approximately $15 million annually until 2016, when it increases to $32 million annually. To date, DEP has invested $12 million in Fish and Wildlife projects and $62 million in Parks and Forestry projects. A complete list of funded projects can be viewed at www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/cbt/index.html.