Senator Vince Polistina, Assemblyman Don Guardian, and Assemblywoman Claire Swift (all R-Atlantic) expressed their opposition to a plan proposed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) that would impose costly permits for access to roads and pathways in Wharton State Forest.
Sen. Vince Polistina, Asm. Don Guardian, and Asw. Claire Swift oppose a plan proposed by the NJDEP that would impose costly permits for access to roads and pathways in Wharton State Forest. (NJDEP)
“Wharton State Forest is an incredible natural resource for Atlantic County fishermen, hunters, and families looking to enjoy a day away from home,” said Polistina. “Most importantly, Wharton State Forest is public land that should be free to access for everyone. When Atlantic County taxpayers are already heavily taxed to support maintenance and upkeep of our parks, there’s no need for the state to impose another fee that could block access to many.”
“The State shut down access to many of our parks during the pandemic, and now the NJDEP is trying to take it away again,” said Guardian. “Nobody should have to pay hundreds of dollars for access to a public park, especially one they might visit just a few times a year. The public should have the right to visit public lands. They should be open to everyone regardless of their financial ability to pay exorbitant fees.”
“The reason we put so much effort into preserving nature for our children and grandchildren is so they can actually experience it,” said Swift. “Gatekeeping access behind expensive permits is the exact opposite of what we should be doing, especially when we already pay so much.”
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