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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2013

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Bob Considine (609) 984-1795

CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ENCOURAGES PUBLIC TO ENJOY OUTDOORS IN CELEBRATION OF GREAT OUTDOORS MONTH AND NATIONAL TRAILS DAY
DEP coordinating trail cleanups and many other events to highlight importance of parks and forests after sandy

(13/P59) TRENTON – The Christie Administration is encouraging the public to connect with the outdoors in June by visiting a state park, participating in a free fishing day or hitting the trail as part of New Jersey’s dual celebration of Great Outdoors Month and National Trails Day, celebrations made even more important this year because of Superstorm Sandy.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is coordinating post-Sandy trail cleanup projects and family hikes this Saturday as part of National Trails Day, and has planned numerous other events at state parks, forests and historic sites throughout June in conjunction with Great Outdoors Month. The events highlight the importance of the outdoors to the public after Superstorm Sandy.

“Our state parks and forests have been entertaining record numbers of visitors for years. We worked very hard to restore and reopen all of New Jersey’s parks, forests and historic sites as quickly as possible following this historic storm,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “We still have some work to do, but all are now open and ready for your enjoyment. Now is a great time to get out and enjoy these natural resources that are so important to all of us and appreciate them even more after all our state has been through these past seven months.”

The DEP’s Division of Parks and Forestry and Division of Fish and Wildlife are coordinating hundreds of diverse family-friendly outdoors events and programs throughout the month, including nature and history programs, kayak eco-tours, scouting badge programs, hikes, guided tours of historic sites, bird walks, post-Sandy volunteer trail maintenance programs, astronomy programs and much more.

In conjunction with Great Outdoors Month, the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife will also host Free Fishing Days statewide on June 15 and 16. No license or trout stamp will be needed for freshwater fishing on these days. Licenses are normally required for those ages 16 or older. For a complete day-by-day listing, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/calendar/june.html#one

For additional information on Free Fishing Days visit: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ffd.htm

National Trails Day on Saturday features trail events throughout the state, including cleanup projects on some trails that were impacted by downed trees and limbs during the storm.

After Superstorm Sandy, many state parks in the north and coastal regions – including Stokes State Forest in Branchville, Kittatinny Valley State Park in Andover, Hacklebarney State Park in Long Valley, Cheesequake State Park in Matawan and Double Trouble State Park in Berkeley – sustained damage to trail areas due to downed trees.

While some trails remain closed or required re-routing, most have been cleared by park staff, volunteers and contractors for safe and enjoyable hiking, walking, jogging, cycling, horseback riding or nature observation. For advisories on parks and forest that remain impacted by Sandy, visit: www.njparksandforests.org/

“We have worked very hard to get our trails back to where they were before Superstorm Sandy, and continue to make progress in those parks that remain affected,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “We’re anticipating a great hiking season in our parks this year.”

National Trails Day highlights include:

  • Post-Sandy trail cleanup and maintenance at Cheesequake State Park in Middlesex County.
  • A 12-mile horseback riding trip through High Point State Park in Sussex County.
  • A volunteer clean-up project at the State Line Lookout in Bergen County.
  • A ground-breaking for a new trail at Scott’s Corner Conservation Area in Middlesex County.
  • A 6-mile mountain bike adventure in Wharton State Forest in Burlington County.
  • A volunteer service project at Bass River State Forest in Ocean County
  • Trail education and improvements at Croft Farm in Cherry Hill in Camden County.

For a complete list of National Trails Day activities and events, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/natural/trail_day.htm

As an initiative of the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day was first celebrated in 1993 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. It is now an annual event that recognizes and promotes the many benefits of trails, whether they provide health and fitness opportunities, nature study or links to our historic paths.

The yearly celebration is also designed to give the public an understanding of the importance of trails and what’s needed to establish, preserve and maintain them throughout the year.

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Last Updated: May 31, 2013