The Burlington County Board of Commissioners will celebrate National Park Week (April 17-25) by encouraging residents to get outdoors and visit a County park.
Residents have plenty of beautiful locations to choose from within the Burlington County Parks System, which has more than 1,000 acres of developed parkland, plus more than 50 miles of hiking, biking and running trails. The parks system is already one of the largest in New Jersey, with 12 designated County parks and each year it gets better and better. There are additional miles of trails and parkland under construction or planned.
The regional trail system connects some County parks with other major hiking and biking routes. Many more miles are slated for the future.
And for artistic residents who enjoy the outdoors, Smithville Park in Eastampton provides permanent art easels in scenic locations with incredible views that are just waiting for a canvas and paintbrush or pad and sketching pencil.
Residents have relied on these outdoor treasures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and parks officials anticipate use of the parks will continue to increase this spring and summer as the weather improves and more organized activities and events are scheduled.
“Convenient access to safe spaces for outdoor recreation was important before the pandemic, but during the last year it’s become even more essential and we’ve seen visits to our parks nearly double since last March,” said Commissioner Linda Hynes, the Board’s liaison to the County Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “Just an hour or two of walking, running, biking, kayaking, fishing or even picnicking in a County park offers the perfect escape, and more and more newcomers are discovering these amazing County resources. It’s become one of the big silver linings of this health crisis.”
Visitors are encouraged to wear masks or face covering in County parks and they are required in areas where people must pass in close proximity, such as the floating trail at Historic Smithville Park and in the park restrooms.
While no large-scale events are scheduled this Spring, the parks system has numerous small events and activities planned in the parks that comply with COVID-19 gathering limitations, including county line dancing at the County Fairgrounds in Springfield, nature walks and birdwatching trips, art classes, drive-in movie showings and pop-up concerts.
The Parks system also continues to provide a wealth of online programming. A complete list of all upcoming parks events and programs is available online at www.co.burlington.nj.us/569/Programs-Events.
“Even with COVID-19 restrictions, our Parks team has done an incredible job developing safe activities outdoors along with a full rundown of virtual activities, lectures and events,” Hynes said. “Now with Spring in full swing, it’s the perfect time to get outside and visit some of the County’s wonderful parks and outdoor spaces. You will not be disappointed.”