DEP LAUNCHES CAPITAL PROJECTS WEBSITE
(11/P132) TRENTON - In keeping with the Christie Administration's commitment to keeping state parks open and viable, the Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new website providing information on spending of voter-approved funds for capital maintenance and improvement projects at New Jersey's parks, forests, historic sites and wildlife management areas.
"This new website is designed to keep the public well informed about the work we are doing to protect and enhance our natural and historic resources, which are so important to New Jersey's residents and visitors to our state," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "Our goal is to assure the public that state government is maintaining careful stewardship of these resources and spending taxpayer money wisely."
The Christie Administration is committed to keeping all state parks open and viable in the face of a tough economy, recently releasing a long-term strategy that centers on enabling parks to generate revenues that will make the parks more self-sustaining while improving visitor services and amenities. The Sustainable Funding Strategy for New Jersey announced Nov. 2 will make the park experience more rewarding for millions of visitors and allow the DEP to focus resources on stewardship and protection of the state's natural, historic and cultural assets.
"The State Park System is enjoying record numbers of visitors, and is continuing to grow in terms of acreage and facilities that must be maintained," said Amy Cradic, the DEP's Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. "Our new website will give the public valuable information about how the DEP is keeping up with the capital needs of the parks."
The public can now visit the website to view projects the DEP has funded since approval of a 2006 statewide ballot question allocating a portion of the Corporate Business Tax to establish a stable source of funding for capital projects for parks, forests, historic sites and wildlife management areas.
The website can be found at www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/cbt/index.html. It provides a site-by-site breakdown of capital projects undertaken from fiscal year 2007 through fiscal year 2011. It will be updated at the start of each new fiscal year every July.
Through the end of June 2011, the DEP's Division of Parks and Forestry, which maintains state parks, forests, historic sites, and forest firefighting operations had invested $62 million from this fund and the Division of Fish and Wildlife, which maintains state wildlife management areas, had invested $12 million.
Examples of capital projects that can be found on the website include restoration of the iconic monument at High Point State Park, ferry slip and bulkhead work at Liberty State Park, chapel steeple painting at Allaire State Park, dam inspections and road improvements at the Sparta Wildlife Management Area, and repairs to bridges through sprawling Wharton State Forest.
In addition, capital investments are being made in projects that will save money for the parks, such as projects implementing energy efficiency. These include installation of energy efficient well motors at the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Warren County and installation of LED exterior lighting at Liberty State Park.
"DEP stakeholders, including park advocates, environmental groups and the general public, take great interest in the care of our natural and historic resources. They have been asking for easy access to information about capital projects," said Assistant Commissioner Cradic. "There is no better way to do this than by posting the information online, in a website that is easy to navigate."
For more on New Jersey's parks, forests and historic sites, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/
For more information on New Jersey's Wildlife Management Areas, visit: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/wmas.htm