Open space and parks are essential to quality of life in New Jersey and are a major contributor to the $42 billion tourism industry. Open space preservation protects water resources, cultivates biodiversity and fulfills the recreational needs of citizens.
All New Jersey residents should have easy access to parks and open space. However, many of New Jersey’s urban areas are shamefully short of parkland. Parks strengthen communities and make neighborhoods more attractive places in which to live. DEP budget cuts have stifled operations and impaired maintenance. One ongoing problem is that the Division of Parks is required to relinquish gate and lease receipts to the state which should ideally be reinvested back into the upkeep of parkland.
Planning resources, inventories and assessments for restoration and stewardship of parks and natural resource lands such as forests, open space and natural areas are also insufficient. What’s more, implementation legislation guiding the expenditures of the dedicated Corporate Business Tax (CBT) open space funds sunsets in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. Support is needed for municipal, state and county open space, farmland, park and historic preservation and stewardship investments.
- Support open space and protect natural resources
- Provide adequate funding for land preservation, parks and staff