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Get Outside to Celebrate Free Fishing Days and National Trails Day
Recreation - News Center

June 04, 2003 (rt23 news) - 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 For a listing of Free Fishing Day derbies, visit (look under events).

Appalachian Trail, Vernon. 6/7 - Join hike leader Bob Busha and the Woodland Trail Walkers on a 5-6 mile hike crossing the Pochuck Creek floodway via the Pochuck bridge and boardwalk and continuing the hike to the 1,422 foot summit of Wawayanda Mountain. Meet at 9:30am at Meadtown Shopping Center, Rt. 23 in Butler and carpool to the site. Contact: Ernest Wagner, 973-694-3194,

High Point State Park, Sussex. 6/7 - Kuser Sign Dedication. Join High Point State Park staff and Friends of High Point State Park for the official unveiling of four wayside signs focusing on the history of High Point State Park and the Kuser family at the site of the former Kuser Mansion. Refreshments will be available. 11:00am. Contact: Kate Monahan, 973-875-1471,

High Point State Park, Sussex. 6/7 - History Hike. Enjoy a scenic 2-mile walk along the Steenykill Trail while listening to stories from High Point’s past with Ron DuPont, High Point historian. Easy to moderate hike. Meet at 1pm at the site of the former Kuser Mansion. Contact: Kate Monahan, 973-875-1471,

Kittatinny Valley State Park, Andover. 6/7 - Rail-Trail Display. The Paulinskill Valley Trail Committee will have a display and provide information about the Paulinskill Valley Trail (27 miles) and the Sussex Branch Trail (20 miles), the two rail-trails administered by Kittatinny Valley State Park. The newly reprinted book, "Then and Now, A History of the Paulinskill Valley Trail," waterproof maps of the two trails, shirts and other items will be available for purchase. 10am-2pm. Located near the boat launch in the parking lot off Limecrest Road. Contact: Marty Grossman, PVTC, 908-684-4820.

Kittatinny Valley State Park, Andover. 6/7 - Natural History Walk. Join the Paulinskill Valley Trail Committee and New Jersey Audubon members for a half-day walk around Kittatinny Valley State Park to look for birds, butterflies, wildflowers and other wonders of nature. Bring binoculars. Meet at 8am at the Twin Lakes parking area on Goodale Road 0.6 mile east of Route 206 north of Andover. Contact: Marge Barrett, PVTC, 908-684-4820.

Morristown National Historical Park, Jockey Hollow Unit. 6/7 - 5-Mile History Hike. Hear of hardship, death, mutiny and triumph as you visit the places where history happened in a hike through Jockey Hollow. Walk where approximately 10,000 troops of the Continental Army endured the "hard winter" of 1779-1780. The hike is approximately 5 miles long and will last about 3 hours. Please wear proper attire for the weather conditions, including good hiking shoes. Bring a snack and plenty of water. Meet at 10am at the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center. Contact: Elizabeth Gray, 973-539-2085, x-210.

Morristown National Historical Park, Jockey Hollow Unit. 6/7 - Chores of War. Visit the historic Wick House to learn what some of the chores of war involved. Learn about the labor that was involved in making sure the army’s uniforms were clean. Women followers of the army were often used for such labor as hauling water, fire starting, washing and drying. Meet at the historic Wick House. Event: 1-4pm. Contact: Pamela Dobben, 973-539-2085, x-210.

Morristown National Historical Park, Washington’s Headquarters (Ford Mansion). 6/8 - Kids Tour the Ford Mansion. Most kids think historic house tours are boring, but this tour is different! The tour is geared to kids in Grades 4 and higher (including adults). It will feature activities such as role-playing, a scavenger hunt and learning about "icky stuff" like 18th century bathrooms. Meet at the Ford Mansion in Morristown at 11am. Contact: Eric Olsen, 973-539-2085, x-210.

Morristown National Historical Park, Washington’s Headquarters (Ford Mansion). 6/8 - Daily Life at Headquarters. The Ford Mansion was both a home and a military headquarters during the winter of 1779-1780. Learn about the daily activities of Washington and his staff when you meet one of his aides on a tour of the Ford Mansion. 1, 2, 3, & 4pm. Meet at the Ford Mansion in Morristown. Contact: Eric Olsen, 973-539-2085, x-210.

Ridge and Valley Trail, Blairstown. 6/8 - Join local naturalist Dennis Briede and Bob Canace, President of the Ridge and Valley Conservancy on a nature hike in honor of National Trails Day. Learn about the flora, fauna and geology as we hike the new one mile loop of the Ridge and Valley Trail. 10am-1pm. Meet at Belet Givens Memorial Hall parking lot off Route 521 in Blairstown. Contact: Dennis Briede, 908-496-8875.

South Mountain Reservation, Essex County. 6/8 - National Trails Day Hike. Join the Essex Co. Park System and New Jersey Sierra Club on a moderately-paced hike in scenic South Mountain Reservation. Meet at Summit Field in South Mountain Reservation at 10am. Summit Field is accessible from Crest Drive off of South Orange Avenue in South Orange. Contact: Sarah Hanson, 973-268-3518.

Willowwood Arboretum, Chester. 6/7 - National Trails Day Celebration and Awards. Morris County Park Commission will host the following events at Willowwood Arboretum - Fund raising Trail-Side Brunch: requires advance registration; Awards presentations; Choose from several moderate and challenging guided hikes on the Black River Trails and an interpretive walk in the arboretum; Ongoing family and children’s activities. Music by The Folk Project. 10am-2pm. Take Rt. 206 to Pottersville Rd. and after 1.2 miles, turn right onto Lisk Hill Rd and continue for .1 mile to the "T." Turn right for .3 mile and turn left at the "Y" onto Longview Rd. Continue ½ mile to Arboretum entrance on left. Follow entrance road to parking area near the stone barn. Contact: Shari Vice, 908-876-5067,

Worthington State Forest, Columbia. 6/7 - Trails Day Delaware River Canoe Trip. Join staff of Worthington State Forest for a 4-mile canoe trip along the Delaware. A talk about the river’s history, recreational uses and the many health benefits of outdoor activity will be discussed prior to the start of the trip. Worthington State Forest will provide 5 canoes and 5 kayaks. Please call for reservations. Meet 10am at the boat launch behind the Worthington State Forest office off Old Mine Rd. Contact: Andrea Grier, 908-841-9575,

Take Me Fishing classes during Free Fishing Days June 7 and 8


Sponsoring Organization
/ Registration Contact

Pequest Trout Hatchery


June 7 at 10:30 a.m.
June 8 at 1 p.m.

NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife/ 908- 637-4125

Black Brook Pond

June 7 at 9:30 a.m.Newark Bait & Fly Casting Club / NJ DFW 908-637-4125

Cheesequake SP
MatawanJune 7 at 1:00 p.m.Division of Parks & Forestry / 732-566-3208

Laurel Acres Lake
Mt. LaurelJune 7 at 9:30 a.m.Pennsauken Surf Fishing Club / NJ DFW 908-637-4125
Supawna NWR PennsvilleJune 7 at 9:30 a.m.US Fish & Wildlife Service and WCC / 856-435-1487
Wallkill NWR (pond)SussexJune 7 & 8 US Fish & Wildlife Service and WCC / 973-702-7266

Posted by: Staff at
June 04, 2003

Get Outside to Celebrate Free Fishing Days and National Trails Day

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