Tag Archives: recreation

Hudson River Ramble activities: bike, hike, boat, play, sightsee

Hudson River Ramble activities16 years of fall activities bring thousands out to enjoy the Hudson River Ramble and Hudson Valley in southern New York State. Take a look at through the activity choices in the website and Guidebook and head out to enjoy the culture and natural beauty of this region. There’s truly something for everyone.

Every September, participation continues to grow. ‘Ramblers’ come not only from the Hudson Valley region and New York State, but from other regions of the country as well to discover the riches our Valley has to offer. Whether you are interested in a challenging hike, bike ride or paddle, an inspiring walk through the grounds and homes of some of the Valley’s most notable artists, authors, and Great Americans, a trip back in time to experience the significant role the region played in the Revolutionary War, or a family-fun festival or river exploration event, the Hudson River Valley Ramble truly offers something for everyone!

Visit the Pinelands – new map improves access for visitors

Pinelands swans
Credit: Pinelands swans bobanddusty.com
The Pinelands Preservation Alliance advises that on August 4th the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the launch of a public access plan for the state’s largest tract of land, Wharton State Forest (125,000 acres). Wharton State Forest is located in the heart of the Pinelands National Reserve and covers much of Burlington County and parts of Camden and Atlantic County.

A detailed official map of the roads and features of Wharton State Forest was never available to the public before now. The public access plan and map will allow the state to better protect Wharton State Forest by designating certain areas for non-motorized recreation only. See the online map or look for printed maps and brochures at historic Batsto Village and the Atsion Recreation Area.

Over the years more and more roads have been unintentionally created due to illegal off-roading through the state forest. The Motorized Access Plan delineates the 225 miles of sand and unimproved roads intended for motor vehicle use while leaving other access areas for emergency vehicles, wildlife, and low-impact recreation. The MAP achieves balance and provides a guide to users of the state forest so visitors can identify safe areas to drive, bike, walk and boat.

Support DEP’s Motorized Access Plan to limit Pinelands ORV damage

ORV damage to Pinelands
Credit: Pine Barrens Under Siege website
Wharton State Forest has sustained a great deal of damage from Off Road Vehicles (ORVs), and the damage has hindered fire suppression efforts and search and rescue due to impassable roadways. Enforcement of illegal off-roading activities has been difficult without a map clearly designating areas for motorized vehicle use and areas where motorized vehicles are prohibited.

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance supports the DEP’s Motorized Access Plan to protect the natural resources and recreational opportunities in Wharton State Forest. Learn more about ORV damage on their website, including news coverage by NBC10 about the plan and an interactive map of damage done in the Pinelands by irresponsible off road vehicle use.

Take Action Today
Please let your legislators know that you support this Motorized Access Plan by calling or emailing them today. It is very important that they hear from you and that they support this effort by the NJ DEP to better protect New Jersey’s natural resources and encourage all types of recreation in Wharton State Forest.

Find your state legislators with this easy tool or send an email using PPA’s Take Action tool.

More on Pine Barrens damage from ORVs at Pine Barrens Under Siege.

Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossom Festival is now!

Essex County BBP Cherry Blossom Festival
The 39th Annual Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival will be highlighted by the planting of 1,000 new cherry blossom trees, solidifying Essex County’s position as having larger and more diverse collection than the national display in Washington, DC. The festival begins with the Cherry Blossom Challenge Bicycle Race on Saturday, April 11th and concludes with the bus tour’s final trip through the park on Wednesday, April 22.

“The colorful display of the cherry blossoms throughout Branch Brook Park will be greatly enhanced with the planting of an additional 1,000 trees. When we started our replanting program seven years ago, it was always our goal to have our collection reach 5,000 trees. This will make the transformation each spring more dramatic and ensure the Cherry Blossoms remain a feature of Branch Brook,” County Executive DiVincenzo said. The project is being funded through the Essex County Capital Budget.

The Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival includes the following events:

Cherry Blossom Challenge Annual Bike Race
Saturday 11 April 2015
7am – 1pm
Essex County Branch Brook Park
Heller Parkway, Newark NJ
Race through Branch Brook Park in the Cherry Blossom Challenge, a competitive New Jersey tradition, or cheer on the cyclists while enjoying a day in the fresh, spring air. Various races occur throughout the morning, with the first race at 7am and the last race at 12 Noon. Registration fees apply to racers. It’s free to enter the park and watch.

Cherry Blossom 10K Run
Sunday 12 April 2015
Registration: 8am
10K Race: 10am
Race for the Disabled: 10:10am
Essex County Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossom Center
Mill Street, Newark NJRun through the historic cherry tree groves in this race that is sanctioned by the USATF. A portion of the race proceeds benefit the Special Olympics. Online registration can be done at www.compuscore.com. Same day registration begins at 8am Advanced registration is recommended. Race starts at 10am Disabled Run starts at 10:10am It’s free to enter the park and watch.

1-Mile Fun Run and Walk
Saturday 18 April 2015
8am Registration
10am Race
Essex County Branch Brook Park Southern Division
Prudential Concert Grove, Newark NJ
Celebrate the arrival of spring and get fit with your family or friends. Children are encouraged to run individually or as a member of a school team. Schools and groups must register in advance by calling 973-268-3500. This is a free event. All participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt.

Essex County Family Day
Saturday 18 April 2015
11am – 3pm
Essex County Branch Brook Park
Southern Division, Prudential Concert Grove, Newark NJ
The public is encouraged to come out and enjoy an afternoon of family-fun with a variety of events including live performances, children’s activities, a fishing derby and more. Bring your own picnic lunch or purchase food from vendors who will be on site and enjoy the picturesque views overlooking the lake. Admission is free but food and other merchandise will be for sale.

Sunday 19 April 2015
11am – 5pm
Essex County Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossom Center
Mill Street, Newark NJ
Enjoy a family day in the pink park! A packed schedule of events includes cultural demonstrations, children’s activities, live music, a crafter’s marketplace, food and more. Winners from the “Why My Essex County Park is Important to Me” essay contest for 4th graders and “Cherry Blossom Poster Contest” for 6th graders will be recognized on stage. Admission is free; food and merchandise will be for sale.

Newark Cherry Blossoms festival & trolley

Cherry Blossom Guided Trolley Tours
15 through 22 of April on the hour
No tours will be given on Sunday, April 19
Depart from: Essex County Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossom Welcome Center
Mill Street, Newark NJ
Have knowledgeable guides take you on a 45-minute journey and point out 120 years of history hidden within Essex County Branch Brook Park’s structure and design. Tours leave from the Essex County Cherry Blossom Welcome Center on the hour. Tickets are $5 person and can be purchased at the Welcome Center on the tour dates. Space is limited – first come, first served. Call 973-268-3506 to inquire about group tour bookings.

Cellphone Tours – free and on demand with your own cellphone
Visitors to Essex County Branch Brook Park can enjoy a self-guided tour by dialing 973-433-9047 and following the prompts or by using their Smart Phone to scan the bar codes at each of the 72 locations to connect to a short history of the park and horticultural information.

More Information

History, driving directions, a complete list of activities and a web cam where the public can monitor the cherry trees for the peak of the bloom season can be accessed by visiting www.essexcountynj.org and clicking on the Cherry Blossom banner at the top of the home page or call 973-268-3500. General information about the park lives at the Branch Brook Park Alliance website.

The Essex County Park System is the first county park system in the country. It is the thought child of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted – who created Central Park in New York City – and was designed by his sons, the Olmsted Brothers.