The Outdoor “Escape” We All Need - Exploring New Jersey’s State Parks And Forests
It’s mid-June and the air is warmer, everything seems brighter, and people just seem to be a bit more relaxed during the summer. As we usher in the summer, it’s the perfect time to step away from your phone, take a break from the computer mouse, forgo that rerun on television and get outside.
In June, we celebrate a variety of events that extol the reasons and benefits of being outdoors. It all started with Great Outdoors Week under President Bill Clinton in 1998 and expanded under the Trump, Obama and Bush administrations “into a month-long celebration of the outdoors and all the healthful, social and economic benefits it brings,” according to the Great Outdoors Month organization. “This June, celebrate the natural wonder and outdoor spirit of America by getting outside during Great Outdoors Month®. Once you escape the indoors, you’ll never want to go back.”
The emphasis of being outdoors in June coincides with an emphasis on outdoor activity, highlighted by various groups that promote the pleasures of our natural environment, including the Great Outdoor Month organization and the American Hiking Society.
And, of course, there are the wonderful offerings of our own great state of New Jersey. You might be surprised at how close a state park, forest, recreation area or marina is. In fact, nestled within Burlington County is the Rancocas State Park with its ample trails and natural wonders. If you have never visited our state parks or forests, this is the perfect opportunity to explore these venues throughout New Jersey. Here is a sampling of upcoming events our state’s parks and forests have to offer, and as you’ll see, there is something for everyone and for all interests:
- Yoga at Kittatinny Valley State Park
- Batsto Mansion Tours at Wharton State Forest
- Diesel Train Rides at Allaire State Park
- Full Moon Campfire at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
- Storytime at Cape May Point State Park
- Concerts at High Point State Park
- Kayak EcoTour at Liberty State Park
- Battlefield tours at Monmouth Battlefield State Park
- Stargazing at Voorhees State Park
Not only are our state parks and forests beautiful backdrops to a memorable adventure, but admission to them or their programs is usually just a modest fee, or often free. And if you want to see an exemplary example of your tax dollars at work, the beauty and upkeep of these state parks are a perfect testament.
So, why am I asking you to take the time and urge celebrate the great outdoor activities that New Jersey has to offer? The simple answer is because it’s good for our bodies, our minds and our souls. I believe that healthy, happy people live longer, are less prone to illness, more likely to make better decisions, and more inclined to a sense of being united as citizens when we share in similar activities.
Additionally, we all have stresses in our lives that many keep inside themselves. With this in mind, let me ask a simple question: Do you feel better, more relaxed and at peace with yourself after some outdoor activity, whether playing a game, taking a hike, riding your bike or just sitting somewhere as you enjoyed the scenery? Most of us do. And that’s why being outdoors is not only a wise move, it is a relaxing and rewarding one. So, go ahead, and take the trip outdoors. That’s my take, what’s yours?