WASHINGTON – New Jersey members of Congress, led by U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd) along with Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Bob Menendez (both D-NJ), introduced legislation to reauthorize the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail which has attracted millions of tourists and residents to the area since its inception in 1988.
“The New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail incorporates some of the state’s most popular destinations, providing additional support to local businesses and communities that rely on tourism dollars,” stated LoBiondo. “This trail has also helped our residents develop greater pride and awareness of our shared history. By extending the federal authorization for the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail, we allow additional public and private support to be identified and pursued.”
“The New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail showcases all the beautiful natural and historic landmarks that the Garden State has to offer along the coastline,” stated Menendez. “Tourists from across the nation and around the world visit the Jersey Shore, which boosts businesses and stimulates the local economy. Reauthorizing the trail would allow us to use federal dollars to better manage and preserve the area’s rich heritage, including its landmarks and wildlife.”
“New Jersey’s coastline is one of our state’s greatest environmental and economic treasures,” stated Booker. “This bill will help ensure that both New Jerseyans and out of state visitors have the opportunity to experience our rich coastal heritage firsthand”.
Stretching some 300 miles from Perth Amboy in the north to Cape May in the south and across to Carneys Point in the west, the Coastal Heritage Trail connects numerous places of historic, environmental, maritime and recreational interests. These areas include three National Wildlife Refuges, four tributaries of the Maurice River which has been designated a Wild and Scenic River, several lighthouses, a Civil War fort and national cemetery as well as numerous historic sights related to the rich heritage of New Jersey.
Eco-tourism in the area has been especially significant due to the trail’s attractiveness to a wide range of wildlife. Whale and dolphin watching is extremely popular along the shore and bird watchers from around the world are drawn to the area to see migratory species such as plovers, ospreys and bald eagles.
Established in 1988, the previous authorization for the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail was led by LoBiondo and the late New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, and expired in September 2011. Today’s bill would reauthorize the trail until 2025 and make it eligible for federal funding. It would also create a strategic plan to explore opportunities to increase participation by national, local, private and public interests, as well as organizational options for sustaining the trail.
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