Home > Uncategorized > Why Is Bulls Island State Park Still Closed Almost 6 Years After A Camper Was Killed by Tree?

Why Is Bulls Island State Park Still Closed Almost 6 Years After A Camper Was Killed by Tree?

Is DEP Commissioner Martin Punishing Critics of His Foolish Clear Cut Plan?

Buildings recently demolished – will Park open in 2017?

view of the Delaware from the northern tip of the island (12/14/16)

view of the Delaware from the northern tip of the island. Mouth of the D&R Canal on right (12/14/16)

On a bracing Wednesday afternoon this week, with blue skies and a stiff northwest wind blowing, we decided to take a trip up-river and see what – if anything – had gone on at Bulls Island State Park since our last visit in March 2016, see that post for photos. Those not familiar with this Bulls Island saga should ┬áhit the links for the troubled history:

Of course we ignored the “Area Closed” signs – us dogs can’t read:

Can't you read the sign? "Area Closed"!

Can’t you read the sign? “Area Closed”!

We were immediately greeted by a red tail hawk presiding over the D&R Canal. He let us get real close, but I didn’t have an adequate camera and lens. Can you see him well camouflaged in the sycamore tree?

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We were pleased to note that the buildings were demolished and the playground almost gone. The mouldering park benches remained, however. And we did not see many more trees that fell, as predicted by DEP’s consultant (a large riverbank sycamore had fallen safely into the river)

I guess the demolition work paves the way for the park to re-open in 2017 for passive recreational use and DEP designation as a natural area.

But DEP is mum about that – at least as far as I know. The DEP Bulls Island web page has not been updated literally in years.

Surprisingly, despite this unforgivable neglect of one of NJ’s most spectacular and popular state parks, DEP Commissioner Martin has dodged accountability and not faced any tough questions.

Which leads to serious questions that should be posed to DEP Commissioner Martin by citizens, park lovers, legislators and media, including:

1) will the Park be re-opened for the 2017 season? Will the paved roads be removed? Will trails be established? What uses will be allowed?

2) What explains the more than 5 year delay in re-opening the park?

3) Will DEP designate the northern portion of the island as a “natural area”?

4) Did recent cuts by the Open Space ballot question divert funding for park restoration?

5) Where is DEP’s Park restoration plan and when will it be submitted to the D&R Canal Commission for public review and approval?

Some photos – compare to prior post photos from March:

superb riverside trail neglected

superb riverside trail neglected

site of former restrooms

site of former restrooms

massive sycamore still standing - this tree was tagged for cutting

massive sycamore still standing – this tree was tagged for cutting

playground mostly demolished and gone

playground mostly demolished and gone

site of former rest rooms

site of former rest rooms

rotting picnic benches symbols of years of neglect

rotting picnic benches symbols of years of neglect

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