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Hit the trails on June 3, National Trails Day
5/18/2017 Volume XLVII, No. 20

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

Take John Muir’s advice from over 100 years ago! There’s nothing like a trail walk to awaken your senses to the wonders of nature and create feelings of serenity and well-being.

If Muir were alive today, the naturalist and author would surely be amazed at the number and variety of trails, especially in New Jersey! Today’s trails range from short loops in neighborhood parks to vast networks extending hundreds or thousands of miles. Trails may traverse deep wilderness … or urban and suburban settings.

Saturday, June 3, is National Trails Day – a day to celebrate trails in their many forms.

In New Jersey, National Trails Day will be celebrated with more than 40 walks, hikes and bike rides. These events focus on wildlife and scenic beauty, health and fitness, and volunteer trail maintenance and cleanups. There are fun and easy hikes for families with young children, and others that showcase historical sites.

Here’s your chance to help build, maintain and beautify trails – and the open lands surrounding them:

  • Help plant milkweed seedlings at Tall Pines State Preserve in Wenonah as part of a monarch butterfly restoration project.
  • Help maintain the Grassle Marsh Trail at the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve in Tuckerton by trimming trees and brush, raking debris and picking up trash.
  • Trim back vegetation along the Tanglewood Trail and help install a new trailhead sign at Voorhees State Park in Glen Gardner.
  • Other places where trail maintenance and cleanup volunteers are needed include Island Beach State Park in Seaside, Cheesequake State Park in Old Bridge, Mercer County Park in West Windsor, Wharton State Forest in Hammonton, Oldmans Creek Preserve in Auburn, Croft Farm Park in Cherry Hill,  Bass River State Forest in Bass River Township, and Robin’s Trail in Frelinghuysen Township.

Or enjoy a variety of hikes:

  • If fitness is your thing, try the high-energy “5,000 Step History Hike” at High Point State Park in Sussex County. Participants will climb the equivalent of 60 flights of stairs while seeing the sights in High Point’s historic district.
  • In Vernon Township, join the groundbreaking on the Vernon Greenway Project, which will connect multiple trails – including the Appalachian Trail - to each other and Vernon’s town center. A 50-mile “Trails of Vernon Challenge” for hikers, runners and bicyclists will be launched.
  • At the Ernest L. Oros Wildlife Preserve in Woodbridge, teams of scientists, students and community members will compete in BioBlitz, a 24-hour race to count as many species as possible.
  • At the Sussex Branch Trail in Byram Township, hike past a mini-waterfall and a lake where beavers and birds make their home.
  • History buffs will enjoy the Palisades Interstate Park hike in Fort Lee, which highlights the history and construction methods used to build Palisades trails from 1900 to present. The hike features some of the park’s most elaborate stone structures, including staircases, archways and stone walls.
  • Urban hikers can check out the city of Elizabeth, which includes sites dating back to the first English settlement in New Jersey more than 350 years ago.
  • Families with young children can join the Henry Hudson Trail hike in Marlborough Township, a short hike along a wheelchair and stroller accessible trail that will end with free ice cream for all!
  • Kids will also love the hike at the Barclay Farmstead in Cherry Hill, a sunset walk followed by s’mores around a campfire.
  • Be in on the founding of a brand new preserve in Hopewell Township in Mercer County, as the Mount Rose Preserve is formally dedicated on the site of a former office campus. The ribbon-cutting will be followed by a nature hike through the property. 

For a full list of National Trails Day hikes in New Jersey, including RSVP information, go to http://njconservation.org/docs/National-Trails-Day-Events-2017-NJ.pdf. There truly is something for everyone … and most hikes are free!  

And to learn more about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at www.njconservation.org.

 

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