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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

When oxymoronic actions become just plain moronic

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The concept of increasing forest visitation while employing limitations on road access is an oxymoron. Employing limitations as corrective or preventative measurements punishes law-abiding citizens rather than deter those engaged in illegal activities. Additionally, restricting legal access may inadvertently decrease the number of vigilant observers monitoring unlawful activity.

So, to be more specific, the recent plan by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is not an oxymoron… its simply moronic.

Enforcing more restrictions without consistent application of existing laws, is akin to locking only the left front doors of a convenience store to reduce robberies.

The NJDEP has four fundamental responsibilities as it pertains to natural resources:

When addressing environmental conservation, the NJDEP may close parks temporarily to protect the ecosystem, wildlife habitation or seasonal threats. However, the current suggested NJDEP plan of action is not a temporary one.

There are no current natural disasters, hazardous conditions or repairs authorizing the NJDEP to implement temporary closure.

Resource management, including park closures to control visitor numbers, prevent overuse and enhance environmental sustainability could be a platform for the NJDEP to defend this proposal. Considering the stated goal of increasing visitors and well-maintained roads, the DEP’s rationale for this action seems lacking.

Finally, legal compliance responsibilities with mandated laws and regulations, which does not seem applicable in this scenario, as no ignored or new law necessitates the NJDEP’s current proposal.

The majority of citizens opposing reduced access are in themselves an argument for improving environmental sustainability, as a majority of them perform a great deal of trash removal and cleanup while enjoying the trails and roadways.

One step further, the United States Constitution places government entities in a position to serve the will of the people. Citizens pay taxes to fund public resources, such as forests and expect reasonable access. The Constitution emphasizes protecting law-abiding citizens and preserving their rights and freedoms, rather than favoring the criminal minority.

Being in an appointed governmental position does not exempt the NJDEP from adhering to the Constitution. Insisting on limiting taxpayer access to publicly funded land is not only unconstitutional in nature but also contrary to the principles of American governance.

We the people want more access—it’s our public lands.


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