WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo (R-2nd) testified on July 12 before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on his legislation, H.R. 1815, which would extend the authorization for the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail in New Jersey. LoBiondo’s legislation has the support of the entire New Jersey Congressional delegation.
“Since its inception, the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail has not only helped New Jersey residents develop pride, awareness, experience with, and understanding of our coastal resources and their history, it has encouraged visitors to explore this area, bringing with them much needed tourism dollars,” testified LoBiondo. “The Trail has also helped to foster important partnerships between the federal government and individuals, groups, corporations, state and local governments. Since the Trail began, these partnerships have resulted in additional funding amounting to almost double the investment of the federal government.”
Established by Congress in 1988, the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail stretches a significant length of the state – roughly 300 miles from Perth Amboy to Cape May and west along the Delaware Bay to Deepwater.
The trail includes many scenic points of interest, including a wealth of environmental, historic, maritime and recreational sights found along New Jersey’s coastline. Introduced in March 2007, LoBiondo’s legislation would extend the authorization of the Coastal Heritage Trail Route in New Jersey until Sept. 30, 2011. The current authorization of the trail is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2007.
Joining LoBiondo in testifying at the Congressional hearing on the importance of H.R. 1815 was Meghan Wren, executive director of the Bayshore Discovery Project in Bivalve. The Bayshore Discovery Project operates the Delaware Bay Museum from the historic Bivalve oyster Shipping Sheds and Wharves which serve as a tourism destination, a maritime community center and the homeport to New Jersey’s Official Tall Ship, the A. J. Meerwald.
The restored Delaware Bay oyster schooner serves as a living history educational classroom providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience for 5,000 youngsters annually.
It visits Cape May County, and moors at Utsch’s Marina on Cape May Harbor.
“The trail has been a great boon to numerous other important natural and cultural resource destinations along the 300 miles of New Jersey coastline that lie within the trail’s project area. Beneficiaries include marinas, Coast Guard stations, lighthouses, state parks and forests, historic sites, and natural areas associated with New Jersey’s critical role in international wildlife migrations,” said Wren during the Congressional hearing.
“Many of these destinations would be unable to provide the same level of promotion, interpretation, and resource protection without the assistance and coordination of the trail. The technical assistance provided promotes resource awareness and stewardship among both local residents and the millions of annual visitors to the Jersey Shore.”
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