Do you enjoy spending time outdoors at New Jersey’s parks, nature preserves, recreation areas, beaches and other open-air places? If so, how can your experience be improved? If you don’t get outside much, what can be done to make outdoor recreation more accessible and appealing?
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wants to know — the DEP just launched an online survey to learn how New Jerseyans are currently using outdoor spaces, and what additional facilities and programs they’d like to see in the future.
Last year, DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette introduced the “Outside, Together!” initiative to increase public engagement and input, along a 24-member Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee to oversee the update of New Jersey’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). New Jersey’s SCORP must be updated every five years in order for the state to remain eligible for federal grants.
The new Outside, Together! survey, available online through March 22, will give New Jersey’s residents a greater voice. It’s voluntary and confidential, and takes about 10 minutes to complete at https://dep.nj.gov/outside-together/.
Survey questions asks residents about things like what outdoor activities New Jersey residents have done in the past year; what if anything makes it harder for them to participate in outdoor recreation as much as they want; and what would motivate them to get outside more.
Possible solutions could include easier access to parks via public transit, more neighborhood trails, additional parking at popular spots; food concessions and equipment rentals at parks; more features like playgrounds or picnic tables, or more programs like guided nature walks.
What do you want for yourself, your family and your community? Whether it’s nature tours, community gardens, hike/bike trails, basketball courts or places to quietly meditate, now’s the time to speak up! You’ve got the power to help shape the future of outdoor recreation near you, and make sure that New Jersey’s overburdened communities are fairly represented.
To learn more, visit Outside Together online. And to find out about New Jersey’s natural resources, including great places to enjoy the outdoors and nature, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation Web site.