Union County Parks Volunteers Celebrated For Service

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Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski (8th from left) and Freeholder Vice Chairman Christopher Hudak (10th from left) join Union County parks volunteers and staff to honor the valuable contributions made through the Adopt-a-Park and Adopt-a-Trail programs. (Photo: Jim Lowney/County of Union)

Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski (8th from left) and Freeholder Vice Chairman Christopher Hudak (10th from left) join Union County parks volunteers and staff to honor the valuable contributions made through the Adopt-a-Park and Adopt-a-Trail programs. (Photo: Jim Lowney/County of Union)

UNION COUNTY – The work of hundreds of 2012 Union County Adopt-a-Park and Adopt-a-Trail volunteers was honored at a celebratory dinner last month, marking another year of outstanding efforts to help to preserve the county’s 6,768 acres of parkland. In addition to many on-going projects, volunteers played a key role in re-opening popular trails in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

“Union County’s park system is a precious natural resource that thousands of residents and visitors enjoy year-round,” said Freeholder Chairman Linda Carter. “These dedicated volunteers freely give their time to help keep our parks pleasant and enjoyable, and their efforts are truly appreciated by all.”

In 2012, more than 916 Adopt-a-Park stewards contributed more than 3,500 hours of labor on a wide range of tasks such as repairing fences, spreading gravel and mulch, picking up litter, removing invasive plants, and planting native species.

A total of 41 Adopt-a-Trail steward spent 250 hours to monitor the condition of more than 50 miles of hiking and bridle trails, and perform maintenance work including clearing clogged drains, pruning intrusive undergrowth and picking up litter.

One highlight of the year was the removal of 401 fallen trees that blocked trails after Superstorm Sandy, many of them large and fully mature. The work was performed by a specially trained Adopt-a-Trail chainsaw crew. In all, a total of 422 fallen trees were removed in 2012.

No experience is needed to join Adopt-a-Park or Adopt-a-Trail, and opportunities to volunteer are available for individuals as well as groups from schools, businesses, Scouts and other organizations.

An orientation meeting for Adopt-a-Trail volunteers is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at the County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside. To pre-register for the session or to get more information about Adopt-a-Park and Adopt-a-Trail, call 908-789-3683 or visit the Union County website at ucnj.org.


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