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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6/3/03

Contact: Jack Kaskey
609-984-1795

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 classes.

"Free Fishing Days are a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to learn to fish," Campbell said. "With dozens of children’s fishing derbies and classes to choose from this weekend, there are plenty of opportunities for kids to try their hand at fishing."

The DEP’s 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. "It’s a day to get outdoors and celebrate our connection to people, places and nature."

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 state’s 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 outdoors."

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).

 

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PHOTO OP: At 3 p.m. Wednesday, the DEP will stock catfish, sunfish, crappies and bass at Laurel Acres Lake in Burlington County trout in advance of a Take Me Fishing Clinic. The lake is at 1045 S. Church Street in the Ramblewood section of Mount Laurel, a few miles south of the intersection of Route 38 and S. Church Street. Members of the Pennsauken Surf Fishing Club and local children will be on hand.

 

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