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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4/1/03

Contact: Al Ivany or Jack Kaskey
609-984-1795

DEP Pequest Trout Hatchery Conducts Open House This Weekend

(03/43) TRENTON -- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife is opening its doors to the public on Saturday, April 5 and Sunday, April 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The open house at the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Oxford, Warren County is one of the department's premier events held prior to the opening day of trout season.

"New Jersey's trout hatchery is truly a remarkable state of the art facility showcasing the department's natural resource recreational opportunities," said DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell. "The hatchery produces more than 700,000 trout annually for stocking in publicly accessible waterways throughout the state."

There will be demonstrations including special displays and activities related to New Jersey's fish and wildlife resources. Freshwater fisheries biologists will demonstrate fish sampling equipment and show how eggs are stripped from fish during the culturing process.

Trout Unlimited will have fly-tying demonstrations and provide an opportunity for the public to try their hand at casting various types of fishing rods. Visitors can listen to short presentations on reptiles and amphibians, view a watershed model and examine black bear research equipment. The Division's Rockport Pheasant Farm will exhibit pheasants during the weekend for visitors to observe.

There will be a sawmill demonstration each day by local sawmill operator Andrew Pepper of Logs-to-Lumber LLC along with representatives from the DEP's Division of Parks and Forestry. Even Smokey Bear will make an appearance.

In addition, wildlife artists Ann Dixon, Irene Bowers and Carol Decker will be on hand to display some of their work. An outdoor "living history" encampment will be ongoing both days, featuring the dress, shelters and artifacts of a bygone era. Other conservation groups will also have displays in the Pequest auditorium.

Activities for children include fish printing and aquatic insect explorations. There will also be a gill net maze for children to explore. Visitors can feed the fish in the Fishing Education Pond, take a self-guided tour of the facility, hike the Natural Resource Interpretive Trail and take advantage of the picnic areas for lunch.

The Pequest hatchery is located on Route 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 event or public and group visitation and programs, call 908-637-4125 or visit the Division's website at www.njfishandwildlife.com.

 

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