Press Release

For Immediate Release: September 23, 2020

Free Guided Nature Walks for Seniors at Trailside Nature and Science Center

Union County’s Sensory Friendly Trail at the Trailside Nature and Science Center includes rope guidelines, educational kiosks, and many other features designed to offer an inclusive environment for all ages and abilities.

Masks are required and social distance rules will be observed at all times.

Union County, NJ – The Union County Freeholders invite senior citizens to participate in a series of free guided walks this fall on the Sensory Friendly Trail at the County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside. The series takes place on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., beginning on October 7.

This series will be held outdoors, and is open to participants age 55 and older. Masks and social distance must be observed at all times. The walks will be held in small groups in order to facilitate social distance.

Pre-registration is required through the Trailside website, ucnj.org/trailside (use the “Online Registration” link in left-hand column).

“These guided walks offer an excellent opportunity for Union County seniors to take in the beautiful fall scenery of the Watchung Reservation in a safe, socially distanced environment,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.

Each walk is led by Trailside naturalists and highlights a different topic, including Mammals of the Reservation, Autumn Tree Identification, Fall Nature Walk and Lenape Native American History.

The walks will take place at the Union County Sensory Friendly Trail, a 0.3-mile ADA accessible loop. The trail is designed to provide tactile experiences and create new opportunities to enjoy the outdoors while learning about natural heritage in Union County.

The Sensory Friendly Trail winds gently through the woods with guide ropes and features multiple interpretive signs to learn about the local flora and fauna, with 3-D reliefs and Braille for the visually impaired.

The trail also includes audio kiosks highlighting the natural and human history of the Watchung Reservation, the largest preserved park in Union County at 2,142 acres.

Raised garden beds also add seasonal color to this multi-dimensional experience, providing the visitor with additional opportunities to use their senses of sight, smell and touch. 

In-person activities in Union County parks are limited during the COVID-19 outbreak in accordance with statewide public health guidelines, and Trailside is closed to the general public until further notice.

Please visit ucnj.org/trailside or call 908-789-3670 for information about new online nature activities for all ages.

For more information and updates on permitted activities in Union County parks, please visit ucnj.org/parks-recreation.

For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities visit The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.

The Trailside Nature and Science Center is located in the Watchung Reservation, at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside, and is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

For more information and updates on all Union County services and resources during the COVID-19 outbreak, including guidance for using the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University and the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, please visit the new Union County COVID-19 website at ucnj.org/covid19.

For general information about COVID-19 and phone contacts for 24/7 assistance with questions, visit the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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