Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Reauthorize New Jersey’s Coastal Heritage Trail

Aug 01, 2018

U.S. Congressman Frank LoBiondo (N.J.-2nd) and  U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez (both D-N.J., have introduced legislation to reauthorize the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail, established in 1988, which connects numerous places of historic, environmental, maritime and recreational interest.

“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,” said 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.”

As Menendez added, the trail, which streches some 300 miles, “showcases all the beautiful natural and historic landmarks that the Garden State has to offer along the coastline. 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.”

Areas include several lighthouses, three national wildlife refuges, a Civil War fort and national cemetery as well as numerous historic sites related to the rich heritage of the state. 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.

The previous authorization for the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail was led by LoBiondo and the late N.J. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, and expired in September 2011. The recent 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.

“New Jersey’s coastline is one of our state’s greatest environmental and economic treasures,” Booker noted. “This bill will help ensure that both New Jerseyans and out-of -tate visitors have the opportunity to experience our rich coastal heritage firsthand.” —J.K.-H.

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