[OPINION] Union County Parks Offer An Action-Packed Summer

by Linda Carter, chairman of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Freeholder Chairman Linda Carter

Freeholder Chairman Linda Carter

Thanks to the rainy weather this spring, Union County’s parks are even more lush and green than ever before. Whether you are looking for a peaceful oasis from the hustle and bustle or the chance to explore an exciting new activity, our more than 6,000 acres of parklands are just a short walk, bike ride or drive away from every neighborhood.

First off I’d like to make sure that you know about our Ninth Annual Bio-Blitz, coming up on June 14 and 15. This popular event is a two day, around the clock survey of all the flora and fauna in selected Union County parks. The public is invited and there are many family-friendly exhibits and activities to enjoy.

Next up is a special event at our Galloping Hill Golf Course on June 19 that focuses on women in our business community, which we’re calling Union County Women Mean Business. If you own or manage a business in Union County, this is a great chance to network with your peers while getting acquainted with our world class golf operations.

As always, our immensely popular Family Flix and Summer Arts free outdoor movie and music series are returning once again starting on July 9 and continuing through August, alternating between Echo Lake, Oak Ridge, Warinanco, Meisel and Conant parks.

One highlight will be National Night Out on August 8 at Meisel Park, where the whole family can enjoy an evening of children’s activities and exhibits along with an outdoor movie.

Rock hounds can find a new activity this year in the Watchung Reservation, called the Geology Trail. This self-guided walking tour features QR codes that connect you with more information about the distinctive geological features of Union County.

Other additions to our parks over the past several years are the History Trail at Watchung Reservation, an Olympic scale archery range, skateboard parks, boat ramps for convenient access to Lake Surprise and the Passaic River, and our own piece of the East Coast Greenway, a nationally significant bike route that stretches up the Atlantic coast all the way from Florida to Maine.

The Freeholder Board has also been working to create a full roster of recreation programming for County residents with special needs. This year the many offerings range from fishing and golf to cooking and yoga along with special events such as dances, festivals and nature programs.

And of course, all summer long, we have all the traditional outdoor activities at our fingertips, which are free or affordably priced: swimming pools, playgrounds equipped with spray features, and scores of athletic fields for team sports as well as picnicking, biking, hiking, fishing, boating, bird watching and even horseback riding.

There is much, much more to explore in Union County parks this summer and all year long, and I encourage you to visit ucnj.org/parks, or call the Department of Parks and Community Renewal at 908-527-4900, to learn more about all of the opportunities for healthy outdoor fun right here in Union County.

For information about the Union County Women Mean Business event at Galloping Hill, visit ucnj.org/ucmeansbusiness or call the County Manager’s office at 908-527-4200.

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