Are you looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity? Do you need to log-in some hours for a community service project? Or maybe you’re an avid hiker, equestrian, bird watcher or nature lover who uses the trails in the Watchung Reservation or other Union County parks and you want to “give something back” to the parks system. Whatever the reason, mark Saturday, March 16, on your calendar and plan to attend Union County’s Adopt-A-Trail Orientation and General Meeting at Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside.
At 8:30 a.m. on March 16, new trail stewards who would like to “adopt” a section of hiking or bridle trail will gather for orientation. At that meeting, potential trail stewards will be introduced to the Adopt-A-Trail (AAT) Program and may obtain a trail assignment.
From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., immediately following the meeting for new participants, the general meeting for all current and new trail stewards will be conducted. Both meetings will be held at Trailside Nature and Science Center located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside. Light refreshments will be provided.
Adopt-A-Trail participants are required to adopt their trail for a period of at least two years. Stewards are expected to remove litter, do minor pruning, remove invasive vegetation, clear drainage pipes and re-mark trails as needed. All AAT participants must attend an orientation meeting and a “general” meeting each year. They also need to complete and submit quarterly report forms.
Those who are not able to make a two-year AAT commitment are encouraged to attend one of the monthly trail work days, usually held on the first Saturday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon (except in January and February). The next Saturday Trail Work date is set for April 6.
No experience is necessary to help out! By adopting a trail or participating in Saturday work dates, you can realize a sense of accomplishment, work outdoors, meet new people and learn a new skill.
The Adopt-A-Trail program was implemented in 2001 to complement Union County’s existing monthly trail maintenance program. There are approximately 26 miles of bridle trails and more than 13 miles of marked hiking trails that require attention in the Watchung Reservation and miles of other marked and unmarked trails in other county parks, including Lenape Park, Ash Brook Reservation and the Rahway River Parkway.
Preregistration for the Orientation and General AAT meetings and Saturday Trail Work days is required. Please call 908-789-3683 to register or go to www.ucnj.org for more information. Trailside Nature and Science Center is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.