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Contact: Jason Smith / (609) 693-6700
December 3, 2009
Committee Advances Connors/Rumpf Measure to Establish Stable Funding Source for Island Beach State Program

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors and Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf to establish a dedicated funding source for the interpretive program at Island Beach State Park advanced through the Senate Environment Committee today. The Park’s interpretive program is an educational resource that describes the Island’s natural history through tours and activities.

“We introduced this legislation after meeting with individuals comprising a coalition who, collectively, had undertaken great efforts to protect the Island Beach State Park Interpretive Program,” said Senator Connors. “During the meeting, these individuals discussed in depth the disparity in resources provided by the state for the interpretive program at Island Beach State Park as compared to the program at Liberty State Park. There was even deep concern the program would be terminated due to lack of funds. Since the Park does collect fees, we felt it appropriate to introduce legislation establishing a dedicated revenue stream to fund this important program which serves dual purposes as both an attraction for tourists and an educational forum for students.”

Connors and Rumpf’s legislation (S-2977) was also discussed as part of the agenda for a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly Environment Committees that was held on July 30 of this year in Lacey Township. The general focus of the hearing was primarily the Barnegat Bay. Connors and Rumpf had requested the hearing and that the hearing be held in Ocean County.

“Shortly after we met with the concerned individuals and prior to the introduction of our legislation, our Delegation wrote to Governor Corzine requesting his assistance in the hopes of getting this funding issue resolved,” said Assemblyman Rumpf. “Our correspondence to the Governor included information prepared by the coalition of persons attempting to preserve the program in its current capacity. This included their official request for equitable funding in terms of resources provided to the interpretive program. Liberty State Park continued to have positions filled in its program while the positions at Island Beach State Park remained vacant, negatively affecting the program’s ability to perform its educational and research responsibilities. Our legislation was designed as a long-term solution to address this funding issue by utilizing existing fees for dedicated purposes directly linked to Island Beach State Park.”

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