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March 7, 2000

For more information contact:
Paul Tarlowe at 908-637-4125

The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife invites the public to attend its Annual Open House at the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Oxford, Warren County on Saturday and Sunday, April 1 & 2, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The hatchery is one of the country's most sophisticated fish-rearing facilities and annually produces more than 600,000 trout for stocking throughout the state's public waters.

"Open house at the Pequest hatchery is one of the Division's premier events, held just prior to the opening day of trout season," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "This is an event not only for trout anglers, but for everyone interested in the outdoors and New Jersey's wildlife. The Division of Fish and Wildlife invites the public to visit this fine facility and join us in a celebration of spring."

New this year will be an exhibit of different types of fish sampling equipment, including state-of-the-art electro-fishing equipment and different types of nets. Biologists from the Division's Lebanon Freshwater Fisheries Lab will answer questions and explain the techniques used to sample fish populations in streams and lakes. Visitors can also learn how to enhance fish habitat in a lake or stream.

As in past years, there will be demonstrations, special displays and activities related to New Jersey's fish and wildlife resources. For example, youngsters can learn about the Division's HUNT SMART education program and shoot a BB gun or bow under the supervision of a Hunter Education Instructor. The Endangered and Nongame Species Program and Rockport Pheasant Farm will have exhibits, as will the State Park Service. Smokey Bear and Tommy Trout are also expected.

Wildlife artists Irene Bowers and Carol Decker will be on hand both days to display some of their work. In addition, Carol Decker will be available to sign copies of the book New Jersey Wildlife Profiles, which features her artwork of 52 wildlife species.

An outdoor "living history" encampment by the New Jersey Muzzle Loading Association will be ongoing both days, featuring the dress, shelters and artifacts of a bygone era. Trout Unlimited will have fly-tying demonstrations and provide an opportunity for the public to try their hand at casting various types of fishing rods. Other conservation groups will have displays in the Pequest auditorium. Visitors can feed the fish in the Fishing Education Pond, take a self-guided tour of the facility, hike the Natural Resource Interpretive Trail and take advantage of the picnic areas for lunch.

The Pequest hatchery is located on Rt. 46 nine miles west of Hackettstown (directions) in scenic Warren County. The facility can be the site of a family outing during the open house or anytime throughout the year. For more information about the open house or public and group visitation/programs call 908-637-4125 or visit the Division's website at