FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2023
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Vincent Grassi (609) 984-1795
(23/P035) TRENTON –To spur interest in hiking and equitable outdoor recreation, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is coordinating more than 30 organized recreational, educational and stewardship events across the state to mark National Trails Day this Saturday, June 3.
“At the DEP, we are working hard to expand the state’s already impressive trail network to ensure that everyone, regardless of place of residence or skill level, has an opportunity to partake in the healthy, restorative and educational benefits of trails,” said Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette. “National Trails Day events include nature hikes, trail maintenance and cleanup projects, outdoor safety, and stewardship activities – all of which will deepen appreciation for our state’s beauty and natural diversity.”
National Trails Day has been officially recognized in New Jersey through Executive Order No. 298, issued in June 2022. In addition, last year the Department of Environmental Protection launched Outside, Together!, an initiative led by diverse voices and perspectives, that focuses on the future investment of conservation and recreational open spaces in New Jersey.
New Jersey boasts more than 4,000 miles of mapped public trails that traverse diverse environments such as mountain terrain, pine forests, river and stream corridors, coastal marshes, urban areas, and much more. These trails range from the grand Appalachian Trail and the famed Batona Trail of the Pinelands, to trails that meander around small county parks and out-of-the way nature preserves, to those that link residents to their surrounding community and to the places where they live, work, play, and go to school.
Trails provide fitness opportunities that improve physical and mental health, opportunities for nature study, greenways for wildlife conservation, links with New Jersey’s historic past, economic boosts to regional tourism, and even healthy-alternative commuting options.
“National Trails Day provides an opportunity to get outdoors and truly experience the diversity and splendor that New Jersey has to offer,” said John Cecil, DEP Commissioner for Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. “Trails Day events are designed to accommodate all levels of interest, experience and age and are sure to inspire many on the path to years of outdoor fun, adventure and appreciation.”
To find an event near you and to sign up, visit https://americanhiking.org/national-trails-day/find-an-event/
Some examples include:
As part ofDEP’s Outside, Together! initiative, a plan will be presented to National Park Service later this year providing a 5-year framework continuing Murphy administration commitments, such as expanding high-quality open space and recreational opportunities, enhancing climate resilience and sustainability, empowering communities through ecotourism, embracing innovation, furthering equity and environmental justice, and continuing the commitment to stewardship and the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, all in an effort to shape a stronger and more resilient New Jersey.
“National Trails Day is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the vital role that trails play in connecting our communities, promoting outdoor recreation, and enhancing quality of life for all New Jersey residents.” said Elizabeth Dragon, DEP Commissioner for Community Investment and Economic Revitalization. “As part of NJDEP's Outside, Together! initiative, we remain committed to building equitable and sustainable access to trails and parks while celebrating the ecological, cultural, and historic significance of our natural resources. Today, we are proud to join the rest of the nation in recognizing the outstanding work of trail advocates, volunteers, and stewards who have dedicated their time, effort, and resources to protecting and maintaining our trails.”
As an initiative of the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day was first celebrated in 1993 to commemorate the enactment of the National Trails System Act in 1968. This annual event, now in its 31st year, is a day to recognize and promote the many benefits of trails, near and far. The DEP has been recognized as a National Trails Day champion three times for its work promoting trails.
For the Statewide Trails in New Jersey Dataset: https://gisdata-njdep.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/njdep::statewide-trails-in-new-jersey
For the State Park Service Trail Tracker App, visit: https://njdep.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=7bacd335484e47afb4b5375b74640b14
For additional information on the Trails Program in New Jersey, visit www.trails.nj.gov
For more about all of New Jersey’s Parks, Forests & Historic Sites, visit www.njparksandforests.org.
Like the New Jersey Division of Parks & Forestry page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/newjerseystateparks.
Follow the New Jersey State Park Service on Instagram @newjerseystateparks
Follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP.