TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey residents and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the state’s splendid scenery and great trails by participating in a variety of recreational activities in conjunction with the 24th Annual National Trails Day to be celebrated statewide and nationally Saturday, June 4.
From hiking and cycling, to horseback riding and kayaking, to nature watching and taking part in trail maintenance projects, residents are encouraged to get outdoors and connect with nature, even if only for part of the day.
“With some 1,500 miles of trails in the state, odds are there’s one nearby for you and your family to explore,” said Department of Environmental Commissioner Bob Martin. “Despite being the mostly densely populated state in the nation, New Jersey boasts a remarkable diversity of trails and wild places waiting for you to discover.”
An initiative of the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1993 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. It is now an annual event designed to promote the many attributes of recreational trails.
Last year, National Trails Day participants across the country hiked 354,000 miles – equivalent to 14 times around the earth, according to the American Hiking Society. They also biked 123,000 miles, paddled 14,000 miles, and rode 36,000 miles on horseback. In addition, 24,700 volunteers built and maintained 1,500 miles of trails.
“For just a few hours or, even better, for a full day, unplug from the wired world and reconnect with the wild world,” said State Parks and Forestry Director Mark Texel. “Whether you live in a city, suburb or a rural area, there is probably a trail nearby where you can walk, jog, cycle, ride a horse, canoe, walk the dog, kayak or simply observe nature. There’s even a really good chance that you will run into someone very interesting to talk to coming around the next bend.”
National Trails Day develops a public understanding of the importance of recreational trails and the efforts needed to establish, preserve and maintain them. Trails provide health and fitness opportunities, outdoor classrooms to study nature, greenways for wildlife conservation, links to history and regional tourism opportunities.
“You don’t have to be a hardcore hiker or be super-fit to take part in National Trails Day,” Director Texel said. “There are plenty of options available for everyone, and many of them very suitable for families with young children and senior citizens.”
Dozens of activities are planned on National Trails Day for trail enthusiasts and novices across New Jersey, including:
- A hike-to-lunch tour at Kittatinny Valley State Park
- A National Trails Day scavenger hunt in Roxbury
- A trail beautification project and guided hike in Pompton Lakes, including wildflower planting and setting up of bat boxes
- A Revolutionary War history hike at Morristown National Historical Park
- A history, geology and trail walk highlighting Lake Hopatcong in Morris County
- A history and ecology hike at Island Beach State Park
- Ceremonies marking restoration of the Johnson Trolley Trail in Ewing
- A trail cleanup and maintenance project at the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve in Tuckerton, Ocean County
- A cleanup and maintenance project for Petty’s Island, in the Delaware River off Camden and Pennsauken
- A nature hike, scavenger hunt, bog hike and geocaching workshop at historic Whites Bog Village, east of Browns Mills
- An easy three-mile hike discovering the beauty of Double Trouble State Park, including sawmill and cranberry packing house tours
- Installing new trail markers, updating trail color stickers, cleaning interpretive panels, removing trash along trails, and trimming brush at trails in Bass River State Park, eastern Burlington County
For details on all National Trails Day activities, including directions, contact information, RSVP requirements (if applicable) and other key facts, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres/trails/day.html
For more information on National Trails Day from the American Hiking Society, visit: http://nationaltrailsday.americanhiking.org/