State budget ax would fell 9 state parks

April 1, 2008 9:14:34 PM PDT
One in five New Jersey state parks would be forced to close at the height of the summer season as part of cost-cutting measures forced by Governor Corzine's austere budget. Eighty parks workers would also be laid off.

The Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to close nine state parks entirely, slash services at three more, and reduce offseason hours at all 42 sites.

DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson delivered the bad news Tuesday morning to park supervisors and union officials who represent the workers.

Parks targeted to close include High Point State Park and Round Valley Recreation Area in the north, Monmouth Battlefield State Park at the shore and Parvin State Park in the south.

The proposed closures would save about $4.5 million in salaries and maintenance.

Corzine wants to balance the state budget with $2.7 billion in spending cuts.