DEP ENFORCES BAN OF OFF-ROAD VEHICLE USE
ON PUBLIC LANDS
(02/54) TRENTON - New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today warned
potential violators that regulations prohibiting off-road vehicle (ORV) use on
public lands are being strictly enforced statewide.
than 950 summonses, resulting in fines of up to $1,000 per violation, have been
issued by conservation officers and park rangers on lands administered by the
DEP between January and June 1, 2002. A total of 47 vehicles were impounded over
the same time period.
"Natural resources are being
severely degraded and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action against
the illicit use of off-road vehicles in our parks and wildlife management areas,"
said Commissioner Campbell. "The number of ORV incidents on public lands
is mounting and the state's limited resources are being increasingly diverted
to address these damaging occurrences."
use of ORVs on both public and private lands within the state of New Jersey has
grown dramatically over the past five years, causing extensive statewide environmental
damage. These negative impacts include pollution, soil erosion, damage and destruction
of sensitive natural resources such as forest, streams and wetlands, and the harm
and destruction of plant and animal species and their habitats. In many cases,
these resources are destroyed and can not be restored.
addition to the negative environmental impacts resulting from inappropriate and
unlawful use of ORVs, the safety of department personnel has been at risk. Conservation
officers and park rangers have been threatened and, in some cases injured, by
off-road vehicle users while responding to illegal ORV activities. Increased noise
pollution has also resulted, and expenditures for restoration, maintenance and
enforcement have risen.
Addressing the growing number of
incidents, the DEP has enhanced enforcement efforts to apprehend and summons all
violators of current ORV regulations, which ban the use of all-terrain and off-road
vehicles on public lands.
While the DEP acknowledges that
proper ORV operation has a recreational value to a growing number of residents
in the state, its responsibility to provide recreational opportunities must be
consistent with its mandate to protect and conserve natural resources. To address
conflicts and growing concerns, the department is currently developing a comprehensive
policy for ORV use on all lands that are owned, managed, maintained or under DEP