UPPER FREEHOLD – Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to fish or hunt but weren’t sure how to get started. Or maybe you’ve been longing to strap on a backpack and venture onto the Appalachian Trail for a long weekend but were afraid you lacked the skills. Or perhaps you’re simply looking for some tips on making your family camping trips more enjoyable.
Whatever your goal, slip out of your comfort zone this fall and “get wild” by picking up tips and insights on New Jersey’s great outdoors from the experts during the Department of Environmental Protection’s first-ever WILD Outdoor Expo Sept. 25 and 26.
The Expo, to be held at the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Upper Freehold, Monmouth County, will expose participants to a host of outdoors adventures such as hiking, camping and hunting that are in New Jersey’s forests, parks and natural areas
“New Jersey’ inaugural WILD Outdoor Expo will showcase the wonderful natural resources and superb recreational outdoors opportunities that are out there just waiting for you and your family,” said Commissioner Bob Martin. “The demonstrations and activities held throughout this special weekend will foster an appreciation for New Jersey’s bountiful natural resources and build the confidence to enjoy them safely.”
The Expo is sponsored by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Parks and Forestry, as well as the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. It is partly financed by a $10,000 grant from the Weatherby Foundation International.
The Expo will be held each day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Entrance and parking are free. Some activities will be offered at a modest fee. Some events require pre-registration. For a listing of programs and directions to the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, visit www.wildoutdoorexpo.com.
It will include plenty of hands-on activities and demonstrations geared to avid outdoorsmen and women, as well as to novices who want to venture into the wild a lot more. Experts will provide tips and insights on fishing, hiking, shooting, archery, kayaking, wildlife watching and much more.
Camping demonstrations will be held for families looking to get outdoors together. An “Orienteering Treasure Hunt” will test participants’ compass skills. And there’s fun for the kids too, including an opportunity to meet and take photos with the wolves appearing in the new movie “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
You’ll also have an opportunity to buy gear to start you on your adventure through an outdoors-supplies flea market. Food will be available from vendors, or pack in your own if you prefer.
“The Expo will help people connect with the natural world by providing a unique blend of conservation information, education, and hands-on opportunities to learn outdoors skills from the experts,” said David Chanda, Director of the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll be glad you did.”
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