As the nation recognizes National Park Week, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced legislation today to reauthorize New Jersey's Coastal Heritage Trail through 2018. The trail was initially established as a national parkland in 1988. However, the National Park Service's management of the trail expired at the end of September 2011. Lautenberg and Menendez's bill would allow the National Park Service to resume management of the trail and provide support to help visitors access its many attractions.
"The National Park Service does an exceptional job throughout New Jersey, and must make a return to managing our Coastal Heritage Trail. This legislation would allow us to once again dedicate federal resources to the Coastal Heritage Trail so that New Jerseyans and tourists can enjoy these beautiful areas of our state for years to come," said Senator Lautenberg. "National Park Week is a great time to renew our promise to protect New Jersey's natural treasures for future generations and preserve our state's history and environment."
"Preserving New Jersey's coastal treasures has never been more critical than during these months following Superstorm Sandy," said Senator Menendez. "The splendor and history of our shores is not only a cornerstone of our multi-billion dollar tourism industry. They are precious resources that need care for the benefit future generations who will inherit them. That's why I am proud to cosponsor this important legislation that will help preserve the environment of our coastline and bolster our economic prosperity."
The nearly 300-mile Coastal Heritage Trail is divided into five sections and extends along the coastline from Perth Amboy to Cape May and west into Salem County along the Delaware River. The trail highlights New Jersey beaches, bays, historic villages, wildlife sanctuaries, and the nation's oldest operating lighthouse, among other historic and cultural sites.
In 1988, Senator Lautenberg joined former Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) to craft a measure that authorized the Secretary of Interior to designate the Coastal Heritage Trail.