216 Stelton Road
Piscataway NJ 08854
Throughout its history, New Jersey has been called the Garden State. This nickname comes from the state's abundance in farmland, wildlife, and beautiful outdoor sites. New Jersey is home to over 50 state parks, forests, recreation areas, and marinas, each one delighting visitors with its natural beauty. The National Parks Service and the Division of Parks and Forests of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection have worked tirelessly for years to preserve parks throughout the country and the State of New Jersey.
The National Parks Service was created in 1916 when President, and former New Jersey Governor, Woodrow Wilson signed an act creating this new bureau of the Department of the Interior. In the over 90 years of its existence, the National Parks Service has maintained parks, monuments, recreation areas, and national preserves. The National Parks Service has worked to preserve nearly 400 areas for future generations to cherish as past generations have. New Jersey is home to eleven of these areas, most notably the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, Ellis Island, and the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route. The New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve became the first National Reserve established by Congress in 1978; it contains over one million acres of wetlands, forests, and farms.
New Jersey is not only the home of many National Parks, but many State Parks as well. The Division of Parks and Forests of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection offers many sites of interests to New Jersey residents. Battlefields, beaches, historic homes, and forests can be found throughout New Jersey and are exciting ways to get a look into New Jersey's past.
As the population of New Jersey continues to rise and with land development growing at such rapid rates, it is important to preserve states parks and recreational areas. As Chairman of the Environmental Committee, Senator Smith has supported legislation that works towards preserving open space in the State of New Jersey. This past November, Senator Smith, along with the rest of the New Jersey Legislature, put his support behind Ballot Question #2. This referendum asked the voters of New Jersey to approve a Constitutional amendment to expand the uses of dedicated taxpayer revenues to fund improvements and facilities on preserved open space lands.
With the approval of this ballot referendum, residents have guaranteed cleaner and safer parks for their children and families. An annual amount of $15 million will fund open space acquisition and development for local communities. While in 2016, an increase in the allotment for parks and recreational land will mean a total of $32 million per year for these areas. The funds will assist all of New Jersey's parks including more than 50 properties in the state park system. Historic sites such as Princeton Battlefield State Park and Washington Crossing State Park as well as forestall areas like Jenny Jump State Forest and Ramapo Mountain State Forest will benefit greatly by the constitutional amendment. Let's not forget the beloved Jersey Shore and the advantages our state beaches, including Island Beach State Park, will gain by this generous funding increase.
Preserving national treasures such as state parks and recreation areas is essential to positive growth for the future. Residents of the State of New Jersey are encouraged to visit the beautiful environmental wonders that call New Jersey home. Each park, nature preserve, and historical site offer their own.