Assemblywoman Katz to Introduce Legislation in Response to DEP’s Plan to Close Roads in Wharton State Forest

(CHESTERFIELD) – In January, the Department of Environmental Protection announced a plan that would close hundreds of miles of roads in Wharton State Forest. Currently, there are roughly 500 miles of roads that are used each day by New Jerseyans, but this plan will leave only 200 miles open. It would also make many of the waterways in the park completely inaccessible. It will result in congestion in the remaining areas.

“Wharton State Forest is one of the best and most beautiful places to spend time in New Jersey. We must protect our woodlands for future generations, but the DEP proposal is far too heavy-handed. Thousands come here each year and closing hundreds of miles of roads is unacceptable,” said Assemblywoman Andrea Katz (D-Chesterfield). “I am introducing legislation that would allow nearby local law enforcement departments to patrol and enforce trespassing and other misuses of our parks.”

The bill would require the DEP to enter into reimbursement agreements with local police departments.

“We can protect the Pinelands by empowering local law enforcement rather than overreaching by shutting down roads and public access. The thousands of New Jerseyans who treat the park with respect should not be punished and my plan will ensure they continue to enjoy the same access as in the past, while curbing bad behavior in our parks.”

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