DEP to host outdoor expo at Assunpink

Perhaps you have always wanted to learn how to fish or hunt but were not sure how to get started. Or maybe you have been longing to strap on a backpack and venture onto the Appalachian Trail for a long weekend but were afraid you lacked the skills. Or perhaps you are simply looking for some tips on making your family camping trips more enjoyable.

Whatever your goal, slip out of your comfort zone this fall and “get wild” by picking up tips and insights about New Jersey’s great outdoors from the experts during the state Department of Environmental Protection’s first WILD Outdoor Expo, Sept. 25-26.

The expo, to be held at the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County, will expose participants to a host of outdoor adventures such as hiking, camping and hunting that are in New Jersey’s forests, parks and natural areas.

“New Jersey’s inaugural WILD Outdoor Expo will showcase the wonderful natural resources and superb recreational outdoors opportunities that are out there just waiting for you and your family,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. “The demonstrations and activities held throughout this special weekend will foster an appreciation for New Jersey’s bountiful natural resources and build the confidence to enjoy them safely.”

The expo is sponsored by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Parks and Forestry, as well as the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. It is partly financed by a $10,000 grant from the Weatherby Foundation International.

The expo will be held each day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Entrance and parking are free. Some activities will be offered at a modest fee. Some events require preregistration. For a listing of programs and directions to the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, visit www.wildoutdoorexpo. com.

The event will include plenty of handson activities and demonstrations geared to avid outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen, as well as to novices who want to venture into the wild a lot more. Experts will provide tips and insights about fishing, hiking, shooting, archery, kayaking, wildlife watching and much more.

Camping demonstrations will be held for families looking to get outdoors together. An “Orienteering Treasure Hunt” will test participants’ compass skills. And there is fun for children, too, including an opportunity to meet and take photos with the wolves appearing in the new movie “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

An outdoors supplies flea market will be held. Food will be available from vendors or guests may pack their own food.