Edison group offers eco-tours

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON — The Edison Greenways Group Inc. wants you to go take a hike.

The sentiment sums up the township environmental group’s latest endeavor – its ninth annual Eco-Tours of Edison program. Since 1995, the group has been conducting the tours as a means to put people in touch with the open space in Edison and what is has to offer.

In doing so, Greenways and the Edison Wetlands Association has begun this year’s sponsorship of 12 hikes and cleanups of various nature preserves, wetlands and historic places in town and just beyond its borders. The tours have been scheduled for just about every Saturday or Sunday. The tours started March 14 and will continue through June 27.

"Originally, we did this so people could see Edison’s vanishing open space before it was gone," said Walter R. Stochel Jr., a representative of Greenways. "Now we are seeing things that have been saved."

And as far as Stochel is concerned, there is a lot of land preservation to boast. Between the three county parks, one state park and multiple municipal parks in the township, there are 1,000 acres of public open space in the 32-square-mile, 19,000-acre township, he said.

In addition to showing off all that is green in Edison, the tours also give people the opportunity to "see the wild side of Edison," Stochel added.

Over the years, tour participants have been treated to sightings of hawks, owls, deer, fox and beavers. But, Stochel cautioned, the more people who show, the fewer animals that rear their heads.

Over the years, the group has had as few as two people show for the hikes and as many as 25. Although, Stochel said, usually about 100 show up for bike tours. Some of the events are in neighboring Woodbridge to demonstrate how the greenways of Edison connect and wind through other towns, Stochel said.

Various events have been scheduled.

• March 28, from noon to 3 p.m., Middlesex Greenway Luncheon/Fund-raiser at the Clarion Hotel and Towers, Route 27; tickets are $35 per person. Call (732) 985-7071 for more information

• April 4 at 10 a.m., The Hidden Merrill Park which extends to Rahway; meet at Merrill Park Zoo, Woodbridge

• April 17 at 9 a.m., Piscatawaytown Burial Ground Cleanup and Tour; meet behind St. James Church, Woodbridge Avenue

• Arbor Day Tree Planting; meet at the Clara Barton Library, Pleasant and Hoover avenues

• April 25 at 10 a.m., Earth Day in Dismal Swamp, meet at the Triple C Ranch, 206 Tyler Road

• May 2 at 9 a.m., Raritan River/Edison Boat Basin; meet at the Edison Boat Basin at the end of Meadow Road

• May 9 at 10 a.m., Middlesex Greenway, meet at Dudash Park, May Street

• May 16 at 8:30 a.m., Bicycle Tour of Edison; meet at the municipal complex off Route 27

• May 23 at 8:30 a.m., Sewaren Peninsula Birds and Boats; meet at the Alvin P. Williams Park, Sewaren, Woodbridge

• June 5 at 11 a.m., National Trails Day, Middlesex Greenways Extension; meet at Memorial Park, Route 27 and Lake Avenue

• June 13 at 4 p.m., Stevens Preserve; meet at King School parking lot, Tingley Lane

• June 27 at 11 a.m. Cannon Ball Haul; meet at Oak Tree Pond Historical Park.

The tours are open to anyone who wants to "go take a hike," Stochel said. They last about two hours.

Participants are asked to bring beverages, a camera, binoculars, a compass, a notepad and bid book. Clothing appropriate for the weather is recommended, as is waterproof footwear.