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PHONE: 908-234-1225, EXT. 104

New Batona Trail section debuts


New Jersey Conservation Foundation
The newly-rerouted Batona Trail in the Franklin Parker Preserve
WOODLAND TWP. - A new section of the Batona Trail, a 50-mile pedestrian path traversing the Pine Barrens and connecting preserved lands, will be officially opened to hikers on Saturday, May 5.

The newly-blazed 7.5-mile trail section crosses the Franklin Parker Preserve in Chatsworth, replacing a section that required hikers to walk along highway shoulders and through residential neighborhoods. It also adds 2.5 miles to the overall length of the trail.

The unmistakable pink-blazed trail section will be christened at the Franklin Parker Preserve "Top to Bottom" Hike from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 5. The hike will begin with the cutting of a pink ribbon, and will take hikers past pristine pine savannas, cedar forests and three picturesque lakes.

"Instead of looking at pavement, cars and houses, hikers can now enjoy an absolutely gorgeous section of preserve," said Chris Jage, assistant director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation for southern New Jersey. "This trail will showcase portions of the preserve that even our regular visitors have never seen."

The nine-mile Top to Bottom Hike will follow the rerouted Batona Trail from the northern-most tip of the Franklin Parker Preserve to Apple Pie Hill in Wharton State Forest. A celebratory reception will be held at the conclusion of the hike.

The cost of the hike is $5 for adults, free for children. Advance reservations and payment are required, and space is limited. Contact Carol Banhart at or 908-234-1225 for reservations and questions.

The Top to Bottom Hike is part of New Jersey Conservation Foundation's Step Into Nature series of walks, talks and fun activities.

Other upcoming Step Into Nature events at the Franklin Parker Preserve include a Star Watch with the Willingboro Astronomical Society on Saturday, May 26; a Red Trail Hike on Saturday, June 2; a Pine Barrens Tree Frog Outing on Saturday, June 16; and a Blueberry Picking outing on Saturday, July 14.

For a full listing of Step Into Nature events, go to
For Franklin Parker Preserve information and directions, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at

The new Batona Trail section was built by staff and volunteers from New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which co-owns and manages the Franklin Parker Preserve.

The Batona Trail - which derives its name from BAck TO NAture - connects Brendan Byrne State Forest, the Franklin Parker Preserve, Wharton State Forest and Bass River State Forest. It starts near the village of Ongs Hat, passes historic sites like the Carranza Memorial and Batsto Village, and ends near Lake Absegami in New Gretna.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, it has protected more than 120,000 acres of open space - from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. For more information about the Foundation's programs and preserves, go to or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).

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