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January 27, 1999
March 17, 1999

For further information contact:
Paul Tarlowe at 908-637-4125

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife invites the public to attend its annual Open House at the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Oxford, Warren County on Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The hatchery is one of the country's most sophisticated fish-rearing facility and annually produces more than 600,000 trout for stocking throughout the state's public waters.

"The Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife is pleased to invite the public to this annual event," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "The event has become a rite of spring not only for trout anglers, but for thousands of folks interested in the outdoors and New Jersey's wildlife. Everyone is invited to visit the facility and join us in a celebration of spring."

In addition to exhibits, demonstrations and a self-guided tour of the facility, there will be special displays and activities related to New Jersey's fish and wildlife resources. For example, youngsters can learn about the Division's HUNT SMART education program and shoot a BB gun or bow under the supervision of a Hunter Education Instructor. The Endangered and Nongame Species Program and Rockport Pheasant Farm will have exhibits, as will the State Park Service. Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl and Tommy Trout also are expected.

Wildlife artists Irene Bowers and Carol Decker will be on hand both days to display some of their work. In addition, Ms. Decker will be available to sign copies of the book New Jersey Wildlife Profiles, which features her artwork of 52 wildlife species.

An outdoor "living history" encampment by the New Jersey Muzzle Loading Association will be ongoing both days, featuring the dress, shelters and artifacts of a bygone era. Trout Unlimited will have fly tying demonstrations and provide an opportunity for visitors to try casting various types of fishing rods. Other conservation groups will have displays in the Pequest auditorium. Individuals can feed the fish in the Fishing Education Pond, hike the Natural Resource Interpretive Trail and take advantage of the picnic areas for lunch.

The Pequest hatchery is located on Rt. 46 nine miles west of Hackettstown in scenic Warren County. The facility can be the site of a family outing during the open house or anytime throughout the year. For more information about the open house or public and group visitation/programs, call 908-637-4125 or visit the Pequest page.