Arts & Entertainment

Press Releases

Union County Celebrates National Trails Day with Free Guided Hikes and Activities, June 2

52fc62d558d796d03d97_Watchung_trails_guided_hikes.jpg
fcb7a6d77ae02a7183eb_pink_flowers.jpg
be244f14ae1d76ba4fc6_National_Trails_Day_slide_2018.jpg
d89f4efc46422d29dffc_white_flower_patch.jpg
52fc62d558d796d03d97_Watchung_trails_guided_hikes.jpg

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors of all ages to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of National Trails Day at the Watchung Reservation on Saturday, June 2, where the County’s Trailside Nature & Science Center will host four different guided hikes and an Adopt-a-Trail volunteer activity along with special programs throughout the day for all ages. The event is free, and ample free parking is available.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act, signed into law by President Johnson on October 2, 1968.

“Preserving, protecting and sharing the legacy of Union County’s public parks and nature preserves is a top priority for the Freeholder Board,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “I encourage everyone, especially those who have never hiked our trails before, to come to the Watchung Reservation and enjoy these unique and enriching experiences, guided by experts from our Trailside Nature & Science Center.”

Sign Up for E-News

“During this time, as our country engages in a debate over the future of our national parks, it is all the more important to recognize and celebrate the value of recreation and nature conservation in all of our public lands,” added Chairman Granados.

Participants in National Trails Day can choose any of four themed hikes, each lasting approximately 45 minutes to one hour:

12:30: Sensory Awareness - Investigate one of our many trails using yours senses of sight, sound, smell and touch.

1:30: Geocaching - Learn all about this popular outdoor recreational activity and have fun on a geocaching scavenger hunt.

2:30: Learn to Lead - Find out how to read trail blazes and take turns leading the group on one of our marked trails.

3:30: Birding 101 - Discover the basics of birding and how to use binoculars.  Learn to identify local birds by sight and sound.

Throughout the day, participants can visit educational displays at the Trailside Nature and Science Center hosted by Wild Birds Unlimited of Scotch Plains, the Summit Environmental Commission, and the Rutgers Wildlife Society. 

Participants can also meet live reptiles native to the Watchung Reservation such as a painted turtle, box turtle and milk snake during “Reptile of the Hour.”

The National Trails Day celebration also includes children’s activities, crafts, nature touch tables and giveaways throughout the day. 

The Adopt-a-Trail activity will take place rain or shine from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Volunteers will learn how to repair a section of trail bed and remove invasive plants. Tools and a continental breakfast will be provided. Trail work participants must be seven years of age or older and children must be accompanied by an adult, and pre-registration is required by contacting bkelly@uncj.org.

Union County’s park system includes 36 distinct parks that encompass nearly 6,200 acres, from small neighborhood parks to the nearly 2,200-acre Watchung Reservation, the crown jewel of the Parks system and home to the Trailside Nature & Science Center, Watchung Stable, Lake Surprise and The Deserted Village of Feltville.

Union County was one of the first counties in the U.S. to establish its own system of parks, beginning in the 1920’s. Trailside was added to the Watchung Reservation in the 1940’s.

“Trailside also marks a first, as it is the first natural history museum established in New Jersey,” said Chairman Granados. “Today Trailside reaches thousands of residents and visitors every year with important messages about our natural heritage and environmental stewardship.”

For more information about National Trails Day and other activities at Trailside, call 908-789-3670 or visit online at ucnj.org/trailside.   

The Trailside Nature & Science Center is located in the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside, at 452 New Providence Road.

Quick links to more information about Trailside, Union County parks, and all of Union County’s environmental programs and activities are available at The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Springfield

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Westfield Office; Summit Boy Arrested

June 13, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

“We are organizing this ‘die-in’ at Congressman Lance’s ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 9, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...

Gov. Murphy still pushing a millionaire's tax, won’t say when he'll sign sports betting, weed bills

June 8, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - With a showdown on the state budget looming just 22 days away, Gov. Phil Murphy today re-emphasized his call for a tax on the state’s wealthiest households while hoping to avoid another shutdown of state government.

“Do I still want a millionaire’s tax? The answer is ‘yes,’ “ Murphy said at a press conference at the John ...

Beatles Lecture @ Union Public Library

June 18, 2018

The Union Public Library will be hosting an interactive lecture about the early years of the Beatles on Monday, July 9th at 6:30 p.m as part of its “Libraries Rock!” summer series.  Presenter Paul Groom, who lived the first 17 years of his life in Liverpool, England and went to some of the same schools as the Beatles, will discuss the lesser known Beatles story about their days ...