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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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Freshwater Wetlands - Application Guidance
Non-Motorized, Multiple Use Paths (General Permit 17a)

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General permit 17A (GP17A) authorizes activities in freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters necessary for construction of a non-motorized, multiple use path for use by bicycles, skate boards, rollerblades and other non-motorized methods of transport. General permit 17A does not authorize construction of a restroom, gazebo, rain shelter, or any covered or enclosed structure. General permit 17A does not authorize construction of a roadway for use by automobiles, golf carts, motorcycles, motorized trail bikes, all-terrain vehicles, or other motor vehicles.

Any proposed path under a GP17A must comply with the following:

  • The total area of freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters disturbed under general permit 17A shall not exceed one-quarter acre.
  • The non-motorized, multiple use path shall be designed in accordance with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) “guide for the development of bicycle facilities”, published 1999, as amended and supplemented. It is available at
  • The non-motorized, multiple use path shall be aligned to minimize impacts to wetlands, State open waters, and wetlands transition areas.
  • The permittee shall take all measures necessary to ensure that activities under general permit 17A do not interfere with the natural hydrology of the area, such as installation at grade or use of cross drains to allow the passage of water. The permittee shall minimize the impact of the activities on vegetation.

This page is for informational purposes only. Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7A-5.17A for the precise rules concerning this General Permit.

All freshwater wetland general permits must comply with all applicable requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:7A-4.3, Conditions that apply to all general permits, and N.J.A.C. 7:7A-13.2, Establishing permit conditions.

Note: The Department has, for your convenience, developed an Application Checklist for General Permits. Please follow carefully the requirements as outlined on this checklist to insure that you have all of the required information necessary to complete and process your application.

A direct link to the rules cited in our standard approval letter under "Permit Conditions" for this General Permit can be found below.

7:7A-5.17a General permit 17a - Non-Motorized, Multiple Use Paths

7:7A-4.3 Conditions that apply to all general permit authorizations

7:7A-13.1 Standard conditions that apply to all permits

7:7A - Index to the entire rule.

Please Note: The Department has made every effort to ensure that the text of this regulation is identical to the official, legally effective version set forth in the New Jersey Register. However, should there be any discrepancies between the text on this web site and the official version of the rule, the official version will govern. For more information on obtaining official versions of the rules, How To Get a Paper Copy of Department Rules

Frequently Asked Questions

If you do not see an answer to your question below, please use the Land Use Contact form on this website. We will make every attempt to answer your question as promptly as possible.

Q: What is the difference between a GP17 -- Trails and boardwalks and a GP17A -- Non-Motorized, Multiple-use Paths?

A: The GP17 and GP17A are very similar. The main differences are:

  • If a site is publicly owned, there is no disturbance limit for the construction of a trail/boardwalk under a GP17, and there is no fee for a GP17. The GP17A makes no distinction for a publicly owned site.
  • The GP17 requires that educational features are incorporated along the trail/boardwalk; the GP17A does not require this.

    The width of a trail/boardwalk under a GP17 is limited to 6 feet. Under the GP17A, the width of the path is not directly specified; it just needs to be designed in accordance with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) “guide for the development of bicycle facilities.”
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Last Updated: April 12, 2022