TRENTON – To limit the spread of COVID-19 and ensure social distancing, DEP will close all state parks and forests effective at 8:00 p.m. today, Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today. State parks and forests will remain closed until further notice as required by Executive Order 118, signed today by Governor Phil Murphy.
Orders don’t apply to Lake Hopatcong according to Local Officials:
According to reporting by TAPInto. “Fishing from bass boats, cruising around on jet skis and water skiing behind speedboats will not result in a visit by the police, said Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo and Mount Arlington Mayor Michael Stanzilis.
However, Stanzilis said he was told, by a representative of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), that authorities will not look kindly on "rafting," the gathering of many boats together in a section of the lake such as Byram Cove.
Law enforcement, including New Jersey State Police, State Park Police and Conservation Police, will enforce this order at parks, forests and among boaters on state open waters to ensure compliance with social distancing mandates.
“We regret very much that it has become necessary to close our state parks and forests at this time,” Commissioner McCabe said. “This is not a decision that DEP makes lightly. We understand that New Jerseyans particularly need fresh air and exercise during this stressful time, but as the weather warms, our parks are becoming crowded and it is difficult in many places to observe the social distancing that is so critical to fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.”
“Now more than ever, we need to redouble our efforts to flatten the curve, as the Governor has urged us daily. The DEP urges all New Jersey residents to cooperate with this direction, to protect themselves, their families, and all our communities. State Park Police will actively patrol to enforce these closures, and fines will be assessed where people failure to comply. We look forward to welcoming you all back as soon as conditions are improved enough to allow safe use of the parks.”
This closure applies to all lands within New Jersey’s State Parks and Forests which will remain closed until further notice.
These closures will be strictly enforced. State Park Police can be reached via the 24-hour dispatch center at 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337).
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