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Free Guided Tour of Ash Brook Reservation’s Nature Trail on Sat, July 5

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SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- This Saturday offers the opportunity to join a guided tour of Union County’s least-known and wildest park -- Ash Brook Reservation, located behind the Union County Vocational & Technical Schools on Raritan Road near the Clark/Scotch Plains/Plainfield borders. The walk is sponsored by the Rahway River Watershed Association (RRWA), and will be led by Marc Grobman, volunteer Trail Steward for Ash Brook Reservation.

The walk begins at 9:30 a.m. at the trail entrance, located to the right of the John H. Stamler Police Academy, 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains. Signs will be posted along Raritan Road to help guide hikers to the meeting place for the hike. The walk is a bit over a mile long and will end at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Although the tour is free, registration is required, and proper hiking footwear is a must. Parts of the trail go through muddy areas, so hiking boots are best, sneakers are adequate, but sandals or shoes with smooth soles could make you slip and fall. To register, call the RRWA at 908-892-7229.

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Ash Brook Reservation’s Nature Trail traverses a variety of habitats. It starts at a forested hill of maple, beech, and sassafras, then descends to swampland thick with skunk cabbage and spicebush, and terminates at where the land swiftly changes from marshlands to a dry, sandy hill covered with blueberry, pines, and pin oaks. Along the way, Trail Steward Marc will identify and describe how early inhabitants used some of ABR’s plants and shrubs as food or to flavor food and drinks, and even for writing ink.The walk will also go through a large field of lizard’s tail flowers. These striking plants grow in swampy areas, and this week they are in full bloom.

The ABR Nature Walk is one of the RRWA’s “Celebrate the Rahway River: 24 Towns, One Watershed” series of events. For a complete list, visit the RRWA’s website at http://www.rahwayriver.org. To receive email announcements of future ABR walks and other ABR events, please email Trail Steward Marc Grobman at marc@marcgro.com.

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