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"I enjoy exploring a variety of dirt roads shown on the topographic maps as depicted by the U.S. Geological Survey and use them for sightseeing, accessing specific wildlife areas, paddling, and hiking. However, there are also destructive activities occurring in these same areas such as illegal dumping, poaching, illegal off-road vehicle use, and illegal fires that cause immense damage to natural habitats, historic sites, designated trails, and even the road infrastructure itself. Travel Management Plans have been required by law on federal lands open to the public since 1979 and it is long overdue for the State of New Jersey to catch up to the federal standard.
I am asking for strict, effective, and steadfast enforcement of existing federal and state regulations. We also need more officers patrolling more areas more often. Warnings should never be issued for illegal off-road vehicle use. The corps of Conservation Officers should be expanded greatly and given the direction to patrol the backcountry in state park areas as well as wildlife management areas. We need effective enforcement.
We need better communications with the public and more front-facing employees like visitor services naturalists and maintenance workers. Naturalists and maintenance workers are not being paid enough to build their lives and will not be able to effectively perform this critical task without proper compensation and full-time employment. We need to compensate these professionals better for their critically important work.
Permits for accessing state lands should be low-cost and cover a broad range of activities. Michigan State Parks has a form of this approach called a “recreation passport” that could be a model for New Jersey. For just $17 a year, one receives a license plate sticker that authorizes access to a variety of state-owned lands and facilities such as camping areas, swimming areas, boat launches, state forest dirt roads, hiking trails, and historic sites."