Published On: Thu, Apr 9th, 2020

Hunterdon Freeholders ask governor to reconsider order to close county parks

Sourland Mountain Preserve

Hunterdon County’s Freeholders have called on Gov. Phil Murphy to reconsider his decision to close all county parks and trails in the state, calling it “a one-size-fits-all decision” that punishes county residents who have been following the social distancing rules.

Freeholder Board Director Shaun C. Van Doren said he is forwarding a communication expressing the Board’s concerns to Governor Phil Murphy.

“The Governor should have left the decision on county parks to County governments, as he did in leaving the decision on municipal parks with local officials,” Van Doren said. “The one-size-fits-all state wide decision punishes our residents who have been complying. The reports from Hunterdon County Park Rangers is that the many residents using our parks and trails have been observing social distancing.

“Our residents who are remaining at home to help flatten the curve need access to county parks and trails more than ever for fresh air, exercise opportunities and physical activity that studies demonstrate reduces stress and improves mental health, in addition to physical health,” he continued.

Van Doren underscored the effectiveness of existing county efforts to keep parks safe during the covid-19 outbreak.

“Hunterdon County’s Parks Division had already taken steps to close park facilities, ball fields and soccerfields, and to fence off playgrounds, had put in place signage directing that social distancing be observed, and had Park Rangers taking action to ensure there were no gatherings,” he said. “These steps have been effective. If there are Counties where people have not been observing social distancing for their own protection, the Governor should call them out along with all his other ‘knuckleheads,’ and encourage those counties to close their parks.”

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  1.' Don Tripp says:

    Just another right wing criticism of a Democratic governor. Republicans still playing down the Covid-16 crises.

  2. No, do not reopen the parks!
    The parks staff may be doing everything they can to comply and sanitize public buildings, but they cannot monitor everyone that enters and make sure visitors are complying.
    I live in Lambertville, it was full of non locals walking the tow paths and streets in groups, families, no one was wearing masks.
    Freeholders need to worry about the public health, not who’s lining their pockets.

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