Parks are Essential!
Petition started July 6, 2017
Photo credit: Shinya Suzuki
From July 1st through July 3rd, our State parks and beaches were shut down.
Only twice in New Jersey history have State parks and beaches been shut down as a result of the Governor and Legislature being unable to meet the constitutional requirement to pass a balanced budget. During a shut-down, all non-essential functions cease. According to the State’s definition, State lands including parks, beaches, forests, wildlife areas, and historic sites are not “essential”.
We disagree. Residents and visitors should not be barred from using our parks and beaches because our elected officials are playing politics.
State Parks and beaches are paid for with tax payer dollars and visitor fees. They are critical to our quality of life and key in getting kids and families from all walks of life outside. They also bring tremendous revenue to the State and small businesses from residents and visitors alike. The shut down not only hurts those visitors whose plans were disrupted, but also our economy.
After the last state shut-down, legislators determined that shutting down casinos because of lack of regulators was a bad idea and they passed legislation to protect them from future shut-downs. Surely our state parks and beaches deserve at least equal protection and prominence?
By signing this petition, we call on the State Legislature to pass legislation that recognizes that our state parks and beaches are essential services and prevents them from being closed in the future.