New Jersey’s residents will be offered a welcoming hand to the state’s great outdoor venues and experiences at the Department of Environmental Protection’s fourth annual New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo, a celebration of the state’s bountiful natural resources and rich outdoor heritage that is scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 14 and 15.
The Expo, to be held rain or shine at the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township, will include classes, lessons, demonstrations and exhibits on a host of outdoor activities. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
A host of environmental and conservation exhibits, demonstrations and seminars are planned. Participants, ranging from avid outdoorsmen to novice adventurers of all ages, can learn about and try a wide variety of activities at the Expo. Included will be fishing, kayaking, camping skills, rock climbing, wildlife watching, shooting sports, geocaching and plenty more.
“We want to encourage people to get outdoors in our state, to enjoy the incredible opportunities to be found in New Jersey’s parks and wildlife management areas,’’ said Rich Boornazian, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “We worked hard after Superstorm Sandy to restore our trails and camp sites, to repair damages caused by Sandy, and now encourage people to come out and take full advantage of the Garden State’s beautiful and diverse public lands from High Point to Cape May.’’
“The goal of the Expo is to connect our residents with the natural world through a blend of conservation information, education and hands-on opportunities to learn outdoor skills and activities,’’ added Dave Chanda, Director of the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.
The WILD Outdoor Expo is a one-stop information, demonstration and participatory event for outdoor adventure activities. Participants can learn about off-road bicycling, participate in turkey calling, get an introduction to archery, do some trap shooting, sharpen camping skills, take in a hunting dog retrieval demonstration, get a close-up look at some raptors, or participate in nature photography workshops. There will also be plenty of hands-on fun for families including honey bee shows, an inflatable soil tunnel, WILD crafts, and demonstrations on birds of prey and snakes of New Jersey.
A centerpiece of the Expo is the “Bass Tub,” which shows off the great fishing opportunities in New Jersey. This giant mobile fishing tank holds thousands of gallons of water and will be loaded with monster trout and warm water game fish from the Pequest and Hackettstown State Fish Hatcheries.
More than 100 different conservation, environmental and recreation exhibits, demonstrations and seminars are planned about the state’s air, water, soil, flora and fauna, and history. Numerous experts will be available to provide information on an array of topics from hunting to bird watching to scuba diving and forestry stewardship in New Jersey. There will be a historic encampment and re-enactment of crafting dating to the 1740s.
The Expo also features an outdoor supply flea market for getting or resupplying the gear needed for outdoor recreation. Food will be available from vendors, or bring your own if you prefer.
The Expo is sponsored by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, Division of Parks and Forestry, and Green Acres Program, as well as the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. It is partly financed by a grant from the USSAF Trailblazer Adventure Program. Admission and parking are free. Most activities are free, except for a few that are offered for a modest fee.
For directions to the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area and more information, including a video tour of the 2011 Expo and a complete listing of 2013 programs, visit: www.wildoutdoorexpo.com.
Logo courtesy New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife