I had a chance to discuss the results of yesterday’s meeting with Mayor Louis Sceusi of Rockaway Township. The mayor said the meeting was very productive because all the parties involved were present and under pressure from State Senator Bucco and Assemblymen Bucco and Carroll (who were all also at the meeting) to resolve the issue. Jersey City contends that since the state has the conservation easement on the land, it is the state’s responsibility to patrol and enforce the regulations. Jersey City believes recreational use of the reservoir does not benefit its citizens, even going to far to say that they would be happy to see a barbed wire fence put up around it. Luckily, that will not happen.
DEP has agreed to step up enforcement patrols and ticketing in the area. Jersey City has agreed to provide whatever documentation is required to allow the direct enforcement of trespassing and other ordinances by Rockaway Township and DEP Conservation Officers.
The mayor stated that orders to put up new “No Trespassing” signs around the reservoir have already been issued. As soon as the authorization paperwork is filed with the various entities people can expect trespassing tickets and other violations such as criminal mischief to be issued regularly by both RTPD and NJ DEP officers. Mr. Sceusi wanted to be clear however, that people fishing, boating, hiking or otherwise legally using the reservoir will not be subject to these tickets.
When asked if he saw this as a viable long term solution to the problems at Splitrock, the mayor said yes, assuming all parties follow through with their agreements. He did suggest that the state could go one step further and declare the reservoir a Wildlife Management Area, which would allow even stricter enforcement under WMA rules.
As for when the barriers will be removed? The mayor would have liked to have seen them taken away today, but as of early afternoon had not yet received the paperwork.
“Probably Monday.” he said.