LAKEHURST – Three women came out recently to do the work of many in cleaning up a wooded area near Horicon Lake days before Earth Day.
Resident Kimberly Nuccio coordinated the effort as part of Hiker Babes, an all-female hiking group that she belongs to. “It went very well. We started at the lake, took the trail at the end of the lake until we couldn’t go any further, and then hit up Division Street. The items we picked up the most of were masks.”
She added other items included Fireball bottles, beer bottles and McDonald’s packaging. “Thank you to whoever threw away the two white bags into the garbage can. We left them there while we walked the trails, but I fished them out and tossed it into the back of my truck with the rest of the bags that we had.”
“We collected a ton. The photos taken show bags, but there are bags inside of bags, so we probably have 10-12 total,” Nuccio said. “We only had three volunteers from the group. A lot of the girls were doing a hike out at the Palisades the day before and they were very sore and not into walking more.”
Joining Nuccio was Gina Herbert of Manchester and Susan Tallman-Heinrichs of New Gretna. Among the debris they found was a mystery piece of metal. “I don’t really know what that was. We found some fishing string and lures along the lake which I kept because I’m a fisherman. We found a lot of (COVID-19 protective) masks unfortunately,” Nuccio said.
Other targets for cleanup in the borough include Proving Ground Road and the triangles on Cedar Street and Pine Street.
“We had a great time with the clean-up. We have 186 chapters in the hiking group worldwide. I belong to the Southern New Jersey chapter. We do a lot of hiking locally. I am from Manchester originally so we do a lot of hiking around here and the Chatsworth area pretty much coast to coast. There are other chapters in northern New Jersey,” Nuccio said.
Nuccio said she’d like more people to become aware of the many hiking trails around the southern region of the state especially in Ocean and Monmouth counties.
“It has been a lot of fun and I am really glad that I do it,” Nuccio said. She enjoys fishing at some of the hiking areas. “I’ve been to the Jackson Forestry Resource Center a few times and that is a great hike and any time I’ve gone there I’ve barely seen anybody on the trail and I was wondering why. It is a great place to go,” Nuccio added.
Nuccio’s group does at least four major club events throughout the year.
“We do a food drive, a breast cancer awareness event, a trail maintenance and for the fourth one the founder of the group will let a member pick something. Last year we helped a women’s shelter in Camden.”
For those women who would like learn more about the Hiker Babes group they have a Facebook page at Hiker Babes Community Southern New Jersey Chapter.