Letter from Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club

Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club released the following statement:

“We are asking the Passaic County Freeholders to turn down the proposal for a Disc Golf Course at Rifle Camp Park or find another alternative. Before you go forward with a proposal to clear-cut a forest, you should look at alternatives. So far, the Freeholders have failed to look at any other options other than to turn the park into a single use for a disc golf course. The problem is there are many other sites they can have a Disc Course on like the Preakness Valley Golf Course or other County owned sites. Instead, if they move forward they will be changing the use of Rifle Camp to a single use, which cannot be enjoyed by everyone. This is an outrageous sellout of public parkland that belongs to all of us. The Freeholders need to listen to the people they represent and put this Disc Golf Course somewhere more appropriate that doesn’t destroy open space and limit public access.”

“The proposal to have a Disc Golf Course at Rifle Camp Park is completely inappropriate. This park is the county’s second most visited park and is held in the public trust. This proposal is about selling recreational equipment, not keeping open space. The problem is they want to change the use of the park, while birders, hikers, people walking their dog can no longer use it. This proposal is a step towards privatization that keeps people out of a public park that should be for everyone. The next thing we know, our parks will turn into theme parks.”

“Without voting on the project, or having a public hearing which is required by Green Acres, the County is unilaterally moving forward without public input. That means the County can begin clear-cutting areas of the park at any time. We should preserve undeveloped open spaces such as this one. If they turn the park into a disc course there will be impacts to wildlife habitat as well as wetlands. There will also be additional runoff from clear-cutting the trees, which will cause more flooding and pollution.”

“The Freeholders must move this proposal to another site, especially when there are clear alternatives. This existing Golf Course has plenty of space that does not require clear-cutting for the Disc Course within its 377 acres. There is also a fully-staff equipment store, restaurant, and bar. This land was purchased in the public trust and the Freeholders should not violate that trust. We need them to move this proposal to the Preakness Valley Golf Course, which makes much more sense and does not destroy our environmentally sensitive areas and open space.”

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