Nine state parks may close under budget ax

Kirt

JORBA: Chimney Rock, Team MTBNJ.COM
JORBA.ORG
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Nine state parks may close under budget ax
by The Associated Press
Tuesday April 01, 2008, 10:55 AM

One in five New Jersey state parks would be forced to close at the height of the summer season and 80 parks workers would be laid off as part of cost-cutting measures forced by Gov. Jon S. Corzine's austere budget.

The Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to close nine state parks entirely, slash services at three more, and reduce offseason hours at all 42 sites.

"These cuts are very significant," said DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson, who delivered the bad news Tuesday morning to park supervisors and union officials who represent the workers.

"I wouldn't want to minimize the impact on families who have used the parks, sometimes for a generation, and workers who care about the parks," she said. "These are painful decisions."

The list of parks slated for closure includes five in the Skylands region and two each in the Shore and Delaware River regions. Hours and services at three others would be drastically reduced. Parks targeted to close include High Point State Park and Round Valley Recreation Area in the north, Monmouth Battlefield State Park at the shore and Parvin State Park in the south.

The proposed closures would save about $4.5 million in salaries and maintenance, a small portion of the governor's proposed $33 billion budget. However, the DEP could not reach Corzine's mandate of slashing $8.8 million from the $34 million Parks Management General Fund without resorting to closing parks, Jackson said.

Legislators must agree to Corzine's budget plan; the state constitution requires a budget be adopted by July 1.

She said the DEP looked at attendance, revenue, nearby similar services and whether a park could be effectively closed before making the list.

Some 17 million visitors use New Jersey parks and forests each year for camping, swimming, hiking, boating, picnicking and more. The parks slated for closure had 2 million visitors last year, according to the DEP.

Environmentalists say the modest fiscal savings are not worth the quality-of-life trade off.

"We have too many people in government who don't understand how important parks are for the people of New Jersey," said Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. "Not everybody can have a house on Long Beach Island or the Hamptons. This is where people go on their vacations."

Tittel called the park closings "shortsighted," saying that outdoor recreation generates $3.9 billion yearly for the state's economy.

Carla Katz, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034, which represents some park workers, called the cuts "wrongheaded" and "draconian."

"Closing treasured state parks and cutting the jobs of the hardworking state workers who staff them is a grave injustice and remarkably shortsighted," Katz said.

The layoffs would affect full-time park rangers and supervisors, historic and natural preservation specialists, and clerical and maintenance staff. Seasonal workers would not be hired for the affected areas, but no park police or fire rangers would lose their jobs, Katz said.

Jackson said only Island Beach State Park operates at a surplus. However, she said the DEP was reluctant to raise fees for parking and camping because the parks are typically used by people of modest means.

The list of nine state parks that would close:

-- Monmouth Battlefield State Park, 2,928 acres, Monmouth County. Visitor center, restrooms, closed.

-- Stephens State Park, 805 acres, Warren County. Camping area closed.

-- High Point State Park, 15,827 acres, Sussex County. Swimming, camping, interpretive center, office, closed. Trail access limited.

-- Brendan T. Byrne State Forest (formerly Lebanon State Forest), 36,647 acres, Burlington County. Camping, group picnic area, Indian King Tavern, office, closed. Trail access limited.

-- Round Valley Recreation Area, 3,684 acres, Hunterdon County. Swimming, camping, Wallace House, office, closed.

-- Parvin State Park, 1,952 acres, Salem County. Swimming, camping, interpretive center, office, closed.

-- Jenny Jump State Forest, 4,288 acres, Warren County. Camping and office, closed. Trail access limited.

-- Worthington State Forest, 6,584 acres, Warren County. Camping and office, closed. Trail access limited.

-- Fort Mott State Park, 104 acres, Salem County. Hancock House, historic sites, office, closed. Access to ferry service, open.

The list of three New Jersey state parks that would partially close under the proposed budget:

-- Ringwood State Park, 4,044 acres, Bergen and Passaic counties. Shepherd Lake swimming area closed; Ringwood Manor, reduced hours. State Botanical Gardens and Skylands Manor, open.

-- D&R Canal State Park, 5,379 acres, central New Jersey. Bulls Island Recreation Area closed to campers. Rockingham Historic Site and towpath, open.

-- Washington Crossing State Park, 3,126 acres, Mercer and Hunterdon counties. Significantly reduced hours at Clark House, Johnson Ferry House and the museum.

Winter hours at all remaining parks would be reduced. All but Liberty and Island Beach state parks would be closed Mondays and Tuesdays from Nov. 1 through March 31.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/04/nine_state_parks_may_close_und.html
 

clarkenstein

JORBA Money Launderer
JORBA.ORG
wow...

i'm forwarding this article along to friends who don't post.
 
Last edited:

BiknBen

Well-Known Member
I don't want to start a political debate but I'm confident that this will not happen. I see the Sierra Club has already gotten involved. I want to see a quote from Mergs :cool:

Corzine plan to gain support...
Corzine: You don't like me becuase NJ is too expensive. I propose a ludicrous change to policy that will effect your livelyhood.
Public: You can't do that! You should direct your attention elsewhere.
Corzine: After listening to the public, I have decided the proposed cut is not required.
Public: Corzine saved my job! He is a great man!

One month later...
Public: Wait...Nothing has changed. :hmmm:
 

Allamuchy Joe

Not White House Approved
JORBA.ORG
Same article here. on www.dailyrecord.com,
http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/200804010945/UPDATES01/80401010

I don't really understand what they say about Ringwood State Park - Shepherd Lake swimming area closed. Does that mean they are just closing the gates & parking on that side of the park ? Shouldn't effect riding or the race, right ?

I believe the intent is to close things that require intensive maintenance & supervision -- boating, swimming, camping, etc. It shouldn't require trail closures (unless they close off Round Valley entirely because most of the business is swimming, camping & boating).

Hey, whatever -- as long as Corzine doesn't cut the programs that go toward his voting blocks (Newark, Camden, Hudson County), there are no worries for him. These parks are easy targets for him.

He is also trying to force smaller towns in the Western part of Jersey to merge or be heavily tax penalized -- again, not in his voting block, so easy targets.
 

bozizle

Active Member
Dems

I don't want to start a political debate but I'm confident that this will not happen. I see the Sierra Club has already gotten involved. I want to see a quote from Mergs :cool:

Corzine plan to gain support...
Corzine: You don't like me becuase NJ is too expensive. I propose a ludicrous change to policy that will effect your livelyhood.
Public: You can't do that! You should direct your attention elsewhere.
Corzine: After listening to the public, I have decided the proposed cut is not required.
Public: Corzine saved my job! He is a great man!

One month later...
Public: Wait...Nothing has changed. :hmmm:


I will make this a political debate...ever since Florio...yes that long ago... this state has been run into the ground by Democrats (and one dumb republican who left before stuff went down Whitman) and for the life of me I can't understand why they keep getting elected...from taxing everything you buy including car tires to tolls and ridiculous cuts on state parks....this is pathetic and I hope enough people make noise to reverse this possible resolution.
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I said it in the other thread (norm, steve-merge them?) and I'll say it here too: this is why we as trail users need a common voice. It's great that JORBA is all over this but we need to get on the side of the horsie&hiker groups as well. Hopefully they (JORBA) are way ahead of me on this b/c if this goes through, it will be more wide sweeping on the next budget.
 

mike_243

JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
JORBA.ORG
I had just signed a petition last week calling for the removal of Corzine I am sure that this will start even more of them sign then when they come around and get our voice heard.
I really hope this doesn't come to pass because once they start they will find more and more way that parks cost money and need to be closed.
 
Top Bottom