Whether you enjoy canoeing down a cedar stream in the Pine Barrens, combing a quiet beach for the perfect seashell, or simply taking in breathtaking views from a rocky mountaintop, New Jersey offers an amazing diversity of outdoors experiences that are second to none.
There's no better time than now, Great Outdoors Month, to sample some of New Jersey's natural wonders - and launch a lifetime appreciation for the outdoors, especially for children. While New Jersey's state parks and forests make great destinations any time of year, the Department of Environmental Protection urges families to make a special effort to unplug from their indoor lifestyles and take part in the many special events being held this month during the state's "Get Outdoors, New Jersey!" campaign, held in conjunction with Great Outdoors Month.
"For such a small state, New Jersey is packed with virtually limitless opportunities for outdoors adventures - beautiful beaches for strolling and exploring, stunning mountains for hiking and camping, great rivers for fishing and canoeing - and all within easy reach," Commissioner Bob Martin said. "Turn off your cell phones, break away from your computers, put aside your chores for a little while and get your families into the great outdoors. You'll be glad you did."
Playing outdoors and exploring nature improves the overall health and well-being of children, according to the National Environmental Education Foundation. Great Outdoors Month calls attention to the benefits of being active and having fun in the outdoors. It also celebrates the nation's forests, parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands and waters.
Programs offered all month at state parks, forests and wildlife management areas provide exciting opportunities for all ages to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. The public will have opportunities to pan for gold, delve into the murky world of pond creatures, learn how to fish, experience what it took to be a lighthouse keeper, unravel the mysteries of the Pine Barrens, discover the stories locked in rocks, learn how to set up the perfect campsite, and much more.
"These fun programs will educate, and they will inspire," Commissioner Martin said. "And they will create a lifetime of memories."
For more information and a calendar of events, visit www.getoutdoors.nj.gov