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Parks Are For People

Since I blasted press coverage in a post earlier today, I feel obligated to praise a superb story by Jeff Green of the Bergen Record, see:

Jeff’s story is a beautiful illustration of all the wonders of State Parks and why they provide such huge public benefits to people and their families:

“This is a nice place,” said Yoon, who grilled up burgers, chicken and hot dogs for his family. “Fresh water, trees, playground. We’re all from the city and we don’t have this.”

But still, despite the wonderful narrative of the story, it fails to connect the dots to the public policy that is responsible for providing those benefits and hold those accountable responsible for their actions. Those issues are only vaguely hinted at:

“I just think it’s a state treasure,” Chris Holle said of Ringwood State Park. “It’s a shame the state doesn’t pump more money into it.”

There are two critical issues of recent controversy that the story fails to include:

1. Gov. Christie’s privatization and commercialization policy will ruin State Parks;

This issue was raised during the recent controversy over Liberty State Park. For details, see this:

Parks don’t need to be privatized and commercialized to raise revenues – because Parks provide essential public benefits, they should be funded by the Legislature during the budget process. The Open Space revenues also should be restored fully by the Legislature.

2. NJ Conservation group members of the Keep It Green Coalition backed the open space bond referendum that stole all of State Park’s maintenance money and they refused to support restoration of that money or allocation of more money to NJ’s urban areas. For details see this:

The fight to restore State Parks funding and increase urban allocations is far from over, see:

If you support the notion that parks are for people and that there must be a fairer distribution of open space funds, contact the Governor and your legislators and let them know.

There is no reason that NJ legislators who represent urban districts who have the least open space and bear disproportionate burdens, risks, and impacts should support the current allocation of open space funds and park cuts. Cities need MORE parks funding – people should not have to travel many miles to visit a state park, and many lack access to transportation and public transit does not go there, see:

Also reach out to the leaders and board members and their philanthropic Foundation funders and demand answers from NJ conservation groups, who have done so much harm already and are active barriers to reforms.

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