Larry Hajna from the DEP Press Office was kind enough to return my call and answer a few questions about the Splitrock closure.
“We know that they blocked it off and we are currently working on resolving this issue. I wish I could tell you more, but I am hoping we will have a resolution very shortly.” I pressed him for how long he expected very shortly to mean. ”Hopefully today, but I don’t want to go out on a limb and say that’s for sure.”
Mr. Hajna said that DEP was reaching out to Rockaway Township as well as Jersey City (owners of the reservoir) and that the three parties will need to work together to effect a solution.
I asked him to clarify the jurisdictional situation at Splitrock. As it had been explained to me in the past by Rockaway Township police officers, the township is responsible only for the road. The reservoir itself and the banks are owned by and the responsibility of Jersey City.
“That’s a pretty accurate representation…. We’re working on resolving that issue. What we’ve done in the past is the conservation officers patrol that area, the parking lot and launch area, and enforce various types of activities there. But, outside of that area, because of the jurisdictional issues they, in the past, have only enforced the fish and game regulations, the game code. But we’re working on resolving that.”