With Union County parks open on a limited basis during the COVID-19 outbreak, visitors can follow specially marked trails to learn about champion trees, ancient geological features, and key moments in local history while observing social distance rules.
“Since the parks have re-opened, it has been encouraging to see visitors looking out for one another and practicing social distance, while reconnecting with nature,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Our specially marked trails provide an extra opportunity for visitors to learn more about unique features in Union County parks.”
In accordance with statewide COVID-19 prevention measures, Union County parks closed on April 8. They re-opened on May 2 for passive recreation only.
No group activities are permitted in Union County parks. Individual activities like walking and hiking are permitted. Visitors are required to stay at least six feet from others and give way when passing each other on trails and paved paths. Face masks are strongly recommended.
Bicycles are permitted only on paved paths; trail riding is strictly prohibited in all Union County parks.
For a list of specially marked trails in and around Union County Parks, along with nature guides and a list of all multi-use paths, visit the Department of Parks and Recreation online at ucnj.org/parks-recreation/paths-trails-greenways.
To find trees that stand out due to their size, age, species, historical significance and other factors, look for trees along walking paths that are tagged with small green signs. The tags were placed by volunteer members of the Union County Master Tree Stewards.
Tree trails are located in the following parks:
- Oak Ridge Park in Clark (trails starts near the east end of the parking lot)
- Briant Park in Summit
- Cedar Brook in Plainfield
- Echo Lake Park in Mountainside
- Echo Lake Extension (trail starts behind the Mountainside municipal building)
- Lenape Park (trail is located to the east along the Kenilworth dike)
- Meisel Park in Springfield
- Nomahegan Park in Cranford
- Rahway River Park in Rahway
- Warinanco Park in Elizabeth
Residents and visitors can also locate “champion” trees in and around County parks by visiting the State of New Jersey Big Tree conservation program online at state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests.
Union County provides nature conservation and educational programs throughout the year, and programming continues online during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Activities and programs are available for all ages through the Trailside Nature and Science Center, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, and the Union County Green Connection at ucnj.org/green-connection.
Union County’s Falcon Cam livestream continues to provide an inside view of the peregrine falcon nest on the roof of the County Courthouse in midtown Elizabeth. Four eggs hatched in the nest between May 1 and May 4. Visit ucnj.org/falcon to see the free livestream and watch the chicks grow.
More details about social distance rules in Union County parks are available at ucnj.org/parks-recreation.
For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including guidance for the Union County Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, visit ucnj.org/coronavirus-update.