SHAMONG A new paddling and outdoor exploration center will be opened Saturday by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA), a nonprofit group that advocates for the protection of New Jersey's Pine Barrens.
Pinelands Adventures, located at the former site of Adams Canoe Rental, which provided canoe and kayaking services for more than 40 years, will continue to offer canoe and kayak livery services on the Batsto and Mullica Rivers.
It also will offer guided paddling, hiking, nature, and history tours.
The launching of Pinelands Adventures, which includes the purchase of the property next to Atsion Recreation Area in Wharton State Forest, was made possible through foundation grants to its Brendan T. Byrne Fund for the Pinelands.
PPA started the Byrne fund campaign a year ago in honor of former Gov. Brendan T. Byrne, who championed protection of the Pinelands during his two terms in office more than 35 years ago.
"By expanding our outdoor programs we are introducing more people to the unique natural resources of the Pine Barrens through low-impact recreation and education trips," said Carleton Montgomery, executive director of Pinelands Preservation Alliance.
"We know that our most active advocates for the Pinelands are those who have experienced its beauty up close and truly understand what is at stake," he said.
Rob Ferber, a Monroeville resident, will be the director of Pinelands Adventures. Ferber was hired to run the operation after managing Linvilla Orchards in Media, a 300-acre family farm and one of the region's largest agritourism businesses.
"It's an exciting opportunity to help launch this new venture, which will represent the most comprehensive outdoor recreation program in the Pine Barrens," Ferber said.
"We are working closely with the managers of Wharton State Forest to ensure that our programs are fun, educational, and low-impact, and that visitors respect the natural beauty and historical resources of the area," he said.
Pinelands Adventures is at 1005 Atsion Rd. in Shamong. For more information, visit www.PinelandsAdventures.org or call 609-268-0189. - Edward Colimore