1 : What are the Birding and Wildlife Trails?
The Birding and Wildlife Trails will use our existing state, county and local transportation infrastructure travelways (roads, waterways, public transportation) to connect each region’s birding and wildlife-watching sites. The Birding and Wildlife Trails (BWT) Guides will be a collection of 2 -3 day local driving loops that connect the sites where people can go to view the areas' wildlife and spend some time outdoors.
Currently there are 4 sets of guides:
- The Delaware Bayshores Guide (Cape May, Cumberland & Salem counties)
- The Meadowland & More Guide (Hackensack River Watershed )
- The Skylands Guides (Hunterdon, Sussex & Warren counties)
- The Pine Barrens & Beyond Guides (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden & Gloucester counties)
The goal is to cover the whole state of New Jersey in future guides!
2 : How are sites selected for the Trail?
Sites are selected by a nomination process. A diversity of sites is appropriate for the Trail. Sites can be on public or private land, can be excellent birding and wildlife-watching year-round or just in one season, or their access can even be restricted to appointments only. Sites of historical or local significance that also offer wildlife-viewing opportunities are also eligible for nomination.
3 : Who can nominate sites for the Trail?
Anyone can nominate a site—private citizens, conservationists, birders, tourism executives, land managers, or business owners. The success of this project depends on community involvement. Why? Because you know best where to view wildlife, and you know best where you would like to direct visitors in your community.
4 : What happens after a site is nominated?
First, the nomination form is checked for completeness and evaluated based on site criteria. If the form was not submitted by the property owner/manager, that person will be contacted and forwarded the nomination. The Birding Trails Director contacts the land manager to congratulate them, and then forwards the form for their review, and hopefully, their concurrence.
Each nominated site will be evaluated by a Birding Trails staff member or seasonal site consultant.
Any accepted site will afford exceptional wildlife-viewing of native plants and animals in a safe and friendly environment. Emphasis will be placed on the reliability and diversity of the wildlife-viewing experience, as well as enhancements that nature enthusiasts have come to expect such as viewing platforms, educational brochures and signage. And while some wildlife-watchers seek the remote and wild, others prefer the conveniences of staffed centers with drinking water, shops and educational programs. The guide will include all kinds of destinations from State Parks to botanical gardens and will offer detailed descriptions to prepare travelers for their journeys.
5 : How do I get a guide?
Guides are available at New Jersey Audubon Centers, some site locations, most NJ Welcome Centers and at various tourism offices throughout the state.
You can order Meadowlands and More Birding and Wildlife Trails Guides by calling the NJMC at 888-NJM-BIRD. You can order Skylands & Pine Barrens guides by going to our Ordering Page.
6 : How much does each guide cost?
Birding and Wildlife Trails guides are free while initial supplies last. Future editions are likely to be sold at a reasonable cost with profits supporting the New Jersey Birding and Wildlife Trails initiative. The Delaware Bayshores Guide is in the reprint process an will soon be available again for a retail cost of $14.99. For wholesale orders, please call us at 609-861-0700.
7 : How often will the guides be updated?
The goal of the project is to update the Birding and Wildlife Trails guides every 5 years.
8 : How are the trails different from the IBBA?
The Birding and Wildlife Trails initiative is designed to get people out to the sites that many people have already worked so hard to preserve and beautify. It is being created with the beginning wildlife-watcher in mind – a truly user-friendly guide to wildlife-watching in New Jersey. The Important Birds and Birding Areas (IBBA’s) initiative is directed primarily at conservationists and land management professionals for large-scale bird conservation planning. It will also highlight areas that are exceptional for bird-watching, which is important for the more advanced bird-watcher. IBBA sites may be included as Wildlife and Birding Trails sites as well.
9 : Who do I contact for more information?
For more information on the Birding and Wildlife Trails, Please contact NJ Audubon at the Center for Research & Education Office at 609-861-0700.