STATE RESIDENTS INVITED TO WEEKEND OPEN HOUSE AND FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENTS IN WARREN COUNTY
The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife will hold its annual Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center Open House on Saturday and Sunday March 23 and 24, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the state’s only trout production facility, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The open house is one of Fish and Wildlife’s premier events and is annually held just prior to the opening day of trout season, which falls on April 6 this year. This year’s event also will herald the reopening of the refurbished exhibit hall of the Pequest Natural Resources Education Center at the hatchery complex located in Oxford.
The open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, rain or shine. Admission and parking are free.
“The Christie Administration is committed to providing excellent recreational opportunities for all of our residents by maintaining and improving our already top notch state wildlife management areas, state parks and recreational facilities,’’ said DEP Commissioner Martin. “The Pequest Trout Hatchery is vital to those recreational and fishing interests, but it also is an important to our economy, providing jobs and generating revenues for local businesses connected to recreational fishing in New Jersey.’’
“The annual open house has become a rite of spring for anglers, including parents and their children, who anxiously await the opening of trout season,’’ added the DEP’s Director of Fish and Wildlife Dave Chanda. “This year’s event will be even more special as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the hatchery and give people a look at our newly renovated exhibit hall.’’
The Pequest Trout Hatchery raises more than 600,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout each year for stocking the public waters in New Jersey. The 27-year-old Pequest Natural Resources Education Center offers education and exhibits on trout, fishing, geology of the region, native wildlife and New Jersey’s natural resources. The exhibit hall has been closed for almost a year for renovation and the installation of new exhibits, including interactive displays and hands on learning opportunities for children.
The upcoming open house event will feature family friendly activities and conservation exhibits, focusing on fishing, hunting and wildlife in New Jersey. There will be plenty of kid-friendly features, including the Hog Trough — a giant mobile fishing tank holding thousands of gallons of water and loaded with monster trout and warm-water game fish.
Professional fishing demonstrations in the Hog Trough are scheduled throughout the day, with tips for anglers on casting methods, lures and effective fishing techniques. Also, children ages 8 to 16 can try their hand at trout fishing before the season opens in the Fishing Education Pond, with expert instruction by staff and volunteers from the Wildlife Conservation Corps and Trout Unlimited. Kids under 8 can try catching trout in the Kiddie Fishing Tank. All fishing equipment will be provided.
Beginner archery and shotgun ranges will be set up in fields near the hatchery. Certified hunter education instructors will offer instruction and ensure a safe experience. Additionally, visitors can complete the shotgun and archery courses of the New Jersey Hunter Education Program by pre-registering online at www.nj.wildlifelicense.com for the field session/exam component of the program, which begins both days at 8 a.m.
Inside the Natural Resource Education Center, Fish and Wildlife staff and representatives from conservation organizations will be on hand with exhibits and information on how they are helping to protect our natural resources. There also will be wildlife artists, carvers and taxidermists exhibiting their artwork and offering items for sale.
In addition, an Outdoor Flea Market will offer deals on fishing and hunting equipment, outdoor gear and many other items.
Food vendors will be available at the open house, or you can bring your own lunch and enjoy one of three picnic areas located in the 5,000 acre Pequest Wildlife Management Area.
“The Open House is a fabulous way for people of all ages to celebrate spring’s arrival,’’ said Pequest Trout Hatchery Superintendent Jeff Matthews. “Families, friends, scout troops, church groups, fishing clubs and anyone else who enjoys the outdoors are encouraged to spend the day at this event in beautiful Warren County.’’
For more information on the open house call 908-637-4125 or visit:
Directions: The Pequest Trout Hatchery is located at 605 Pequest Road, Oxford, N.J. 07863.
Please visit: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/peqdirct.htm
To take a virtual tour of the Pequest Trout Hatchery, please visit: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/pequest_virt_tour.pdf
Logo courtesy New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection