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New Jersey gets first state-owned OHV park

January 17, 2013

After several years of searching for a suitable site, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has opened its first state-owned off-highway vehicle park.

On Jan. 13,  ATV and motorcycle riders took a test ride in the new Mount Pleasant State Off-Road Vehicle Park, which is a mostly wooded tract in Woodbine, Cape May County. It’s illegal to ride on any other state-owned land.

“We are very excited to showcase this new park,” says DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “The Christie administration is committed to developing managed parks in the state that will provide fans of all-terrain vehicles a safe environment in which to enjoy their sport. Just as important, the park will take pressure off environmentally sensitive lands that are damaged by illegal use of ATVs.”

The DEP will prepare a request for proposals for bidders to operate the park under a 10-year agreement. The park will be available to riders seven days a week during normal operating hours set for Belleplain State Forest, which is nearby. The hours currently are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“This new park is going to mean a lot to our borough and surrounding areas,” says Woodbine Mayor William Pikolycky. “It’s wonderful that we will have a facility that provides legal recreational riding opportunities for enthusiasts of off-road vehicles. We will look to possibly expand the riding area in the near future.”

The DEP bought the 63-acre site of the former Mount Pleasant Sand and Gravel operation in November 2011 for $393,000.

Ten acres, including an existing ¾-mile ATV course, will be used initially for the park, with future expansion planned. The park consists of sand pits, sand roads and sandy areas left over from the former mining and motocross operations there. It’s suitable for beginning to intermediate riders.

Legislation enacted in 2009 calls for the DEP to establish three regional OHV parks. The DEP is currently working to identify municipalities in central and northern New jersey willing to help with the development of similar parks in those regions. Under the legislation, the DEP can’t use existing state land for the parks. It must buy new land for the parks. 

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