INTRODUCTION OF A BILL TO REAUTHORIZE THE NEW JERSEY COASTAL HERITAGE TRAIL ROUTE -- (Extensions of Remarks - February 01, 2005)
HON. FRANK A. LoBIONDO
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2005
Mr. LOBIONDO. Mr. Speaker, the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail incorporates the very best of what the great State of New Jersey has to offer the rest of the Nation. Established by Congress in 1988, the Trail unifies New Jersey's many scenic points of interest. These points of interest include a wealth of environmental, historic, maritime, and recreational sights found along New Jersey's coastline, stretching 300 miles from Perth Amboy in the north, Cape May in the extreme southern tip of the State and Deepwater to the west.
The trail's area includes three National Wildlife Refuges, four tributaries of a Wild and Scenic River system, a Civil War fort and national cemetery, several lighthouses, historic homes, and other sites tied to southern New Jersey's maritime history. Through a network of themes and destinations, the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail connects people with places of historic, recreational, environmental and maritime interest.
One exciting aspect of the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route is its focus on maritime history. There is a rich story to be told about the industries once sustained by the Delaware Bay, such as whaling, shipbuilding, oystering and crabbing. While we often define our Nation's history through military or political milestones, the Trail will serve to remind visitors that maritime-dependent commerce was a major factor in the growth of the United States.
"Eco-tourism" along the Coastal Heritage Trail has proven to be a huge success. There is an abundant variety of natural habitats and species to be found on the Trail. Whale and dolphin watching have become extremely popular, and bird lovers from throughout the country, and in fact around the world, are realizing what Southern New Jersey residents have known all along: our region is unmatched for observing migratory birds, ospreys, and bald eagles.
Today, I am introducing legislation to reauthorize the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route. This legislation would extend the authorization of the trail to provide additional funding over 2 years to continue the work begun in 1988. It would also initiate a Strategic Plan which would explore opportunities to increase participation by national and local private and public interests, as well as organizational options for sustaining the trail.
The New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail has helped New Jersey residents develop pride, awareness, experience with, and understanding of our coastal resources and its history. This reauthorization will allow the trail to continue and flourish.
I urge my colleagues in the House to support this legislation.