Get Outside to Celebrate Free Fishing
Days and National Trails Day
(03/79) TRENTON As if mild
spring weather weren't enough reason to get outdoors, Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M.
Campbell reminds the public that dozens of organized hiking
and fishing programs are being held this weekend to celebrate
Free Fishing Days and National Trails Day.
During Free Fishing Days, Saturday, June
7, and Sunday, June 8, residents and non-residents can fish
New Jersey's public waters for free. The DEP's Division
of Fish and Wildlife is working with volunteers statewide
to host children's fishing derbies and beginner fishing
"Free Fishing Days are a wonderful
opportunity for children and adults to learn to fish,"
Campbell said. "With dozens of childrens fishing
derbies and classes to choose from this weekend, there are
plenty of opportunities for kids to try their hand at fishing."
The DEPs Division of Parks and Forestry
will kick off National Trails Day on Saturday, June 7, with
more than 30 events and activities planned throughout the
weekend in state parks, forests and other natural areas
around New Jersey.
"The first Saturday in June is the
time for many of us to lace up our hiking boots, hop on
our bicycles, saddle our horses and head for a favorite
trail,"Campbell said. "Its a day to get
outdoors and celebrate our connection to people, places
This year the national theme is "Healthy
Trails, Healthy People." Campbell encouraged families
and outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage of the health
benefits offered by more than 1,000 miles of mapped trails
and 500 miles of canoeable streams and rivers in the state.
In addition to enjoying the states
trails, Trails Day also is about developing an understanding
of the perseverance required to establish, preserve and
maintain them throughout the year. Campbell urged everyone
to consider one of the many trail-maintenance projects being
held this weekend.
"New Jersey is the perfect nature
getaway," said Nancy Byrne, executive director of the
New Jersey Office of Travel & Tourism. "Whether
angling in our more than 4,000 lakes, ponds, rivers and
reservoirs or hiking, biking and walking our nature trails,
visitors and residents revel in the wonders of New Jersey's
The DEP is celebrating Free Fishing Days
by offering beginner fishing classes at no charge through
its Take Me Fishing Program. Run by volunteers, these half-day
classes provide an introduction to fishing to children ages
10 and up. Courses cover tackle, safety, ethics, casting
and fishing techniques.
Take Me Fishing classes are scheduled June
7 and 8 in Burlington, Middlesex, Ocean, Union, Salem and
Sussex counties, and beginner spin-casting classes will
be held at the Pequest Trout Hatchery in Warren County.
The DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife
also is stocking state-raised sunfish, catfish, largemouth
bass and black crappies for dozens of children's fishing
derbies this weekend.
Although no license is required to fish
public waters during Free Fishing Days, all other regulations
remain in effect. In New Jersey, a license is required only
for those older than 15 fishing in freshwater.
A list of Take Me Fishing classes and National
Trails Day events is available at www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/releases/trailsday2003.htm.
For a listing of Free Fishing Day derbies, visit www.waterworkswonders.org
(look under events).