New Jersey Tubing Company still operating despite losing agreement with DEP

FRENCHTOWN, N.J. (WPVI) -- A New Jersey tubing company says it is prepared to take legal action against the state after its concession agreement was not renewed, which previously allowed them to drop off and pick up customers at Delaware River access points in a state park.

Delaware River Tubing says it will stay open, but owners say they are being ticketed almost daily for using access points like the Kingwood Boat Launch in Frenchtown, N.J.

It's all because their concession agreement with the state has been terminated after five seasons.

But on Tuesday, folks lined up outside the company's facility in Milford, N.J., ready for a day on the water.

"Just relaxing and enjoying the sights and getting away from the hustle and bustle of work and the city and noise and all that," said kayaker Lisa Underwood of Flemington, N.J.

The river recreation company is in a fight with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection after the company's concession agreement was not renewed.

The agreement allowed them to drop off and pick up tubers, rafters and kayakers within Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, down the road from the company's headquarters.

"We were wondering what was going on and what the reason for it is, and we had never gotten a clear answer. We're more than willing to work with any agency and them," said operations manager Yuuji Crance.

The DEP sent Action News letters sent to the company, saying it was not renewing the concession agreement for a sixth season, and that the company owes the state $43,000 from prior seasons.

Company owner Greg Crance says it's not true, and adds the state hasn't fulfilled its end of the agreement, like access to reserved parking spaces and stairs to the water.

He says he's paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state in these concession agreements. Now he says he feels targeted.

"The DEP was set up to protect the resources, to protect the river. And recreation is key to that. We are literally an advocate for conservation," said Crance.

"Right now we're just trying to ensure our guests have a fun time on the river," said Yuuji Crance, Greg's son.

The Department of Environmental Protection sent Action News the following statement:

"Concession activity is not permitted on State Park Service property without an agreement. The State publicly bids concession opportunities that the State Park Service determines are appropriate and consistent with the use of public lands. In 2013, the Department issued a public bid for a tubing operation in the State Park, and Delaware River Tubing entered into a Concession Agreement for their operations. As that agreement has not been renewed this year, DEP has notified Delaware River Tubing that it cannot operate a private business in the park. The Kingwood Boat Launch and Point Pleasant parking area are both State Park property. While these areas are open for public use, they are not open for unauthorized commercial use."
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