Trenton, NJ- The Christie Administration will hold a special public
preview on Sunday, Jan. 13, to mark the opening of the first state-owned
all-terrain vehicle park, a mostly wooded tract in Woodbine, Cape May County,
that once served as a sand mine and later as a private motocross track.
The administration is
inviting riders to join officials from the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) and local officials in taking a test run of the new Mount
Pleasant State Off-Road Vehicle Park, the first regional ATV park to be
designated by the DEP. ATV use remains illegal on all other state-owned lands.
"We are very excited to
showcase this new park," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "The Christie
Administration is committed to developing managed parks in the state that will
provide fans of all-terrain vehicles a safe environment in which to enjoy their
sport. Just as important, this park will take pressure off environmentally
sensitive lands that are damaged by illegal use of ATVs."
The DEP is currently
developing requests for proposals from bidders interested in running the park
under a 10-year operating agreement. Following Sunday's preview, riders may use
the park free of charge until a contractor is hired later this year. The park
will be available to riders seven days a week during normal operating hours set
for Belleplain State Forest,
located nearby. Those hours are currently 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The DEP worked closely
with Woodbine Mayor William Pikolycky and the Borough Council in scouting out
"This new park is going to
mean a lot to our borough and surrounding areas," said Pikolycky, who also
serves as chairman of the Pinelands Municipal Council. "It's wonderful that we
will have a facility that provides legal recreational riding opportunities for
enthusiasts of off-road vehicles. We will look to possibly expand the riding
area in the near future. But for now, I look forward to announcing `Start your
engines,' on Jan. 13."
Those interested in
participating in two preview riding sessions at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. must
obtain a permit at the Belleplain
The DEP will issue permits on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 25
riders for each of the sessions.
Riders for these sessions
must complete an application form and provide validation of identification,
current registration issued by the Motor Vehicle Commission and proof of
insurance. For directions to Belleplain, visit www.njparksandforests.org/parks/belle.html.
The DEP purchased the site
of the former Mount Pleasant Sand and Gravel operation, located at the
intersection of County Routes 550 and 610, in November 2011. The DEP acquired the
63-acre property with $393,000 in Green Acres Program funds.
Ten acres of the property,
including an existing 3/4-mile ATV course, will be used initially for the park,
with future expansions planned. The park consists of sand pits, sand roads and
sandy areas left over from the former mining and motocross operations that
provide ideal tracks for off-road vehicles. It is suitable for beginners to
"With its existing ATV
track and sandy moguls in a pine woods setting, this park will provide a great
riding experience for many years to come," Richard Boornazian, assistant commissioner
for Natural and Historic Resources, said. "This also should reduce illegal ATV
riding in our state parks and natural lands, which damages sensitive natural
resources such as forests, streams and wetlands and harms plant and animal
species and their habitats.''
State Park Service
personnel and State Park Police will patrol the park. Rules for use are posted
at the park. Users of the park must adhere to the following:
- The park is to be used
by ATVs, dirt bikes and snowmobiles only. All vehicles using the new park must
be equipped with headlights, taillights, brakes, reflector material and
- Operators must wear a
protective helmet, motorcycle/ATV goggles, over-the-ankle leather boots,
long-sleeve shirt, long pants, gloves, wrist guards and kneepads.
- Park users must be at
least 14 years old. Anyone less than 16 years of age may not operate an ATV
with an engine capacity greater than 90 cubic centimeters.
- All users under the age
of 18 must complete an ATV safety education and training course established or
certified by the Motor Vehicle Commission, proof of which they must have in
Legislation enacted in
2009 calls for the DEP to site three regional parks for the use of all-terrain
vehicles, dirt bikes and snowmobiles to provide riding opportunities and reduce
pressure from illegal and improper use of ATVs, dirt bikes and other off-road
The DEP had been searching for suitable sites for
regional off-road vehicle parks for a number of years. The DEP is currently
working to identify municipalities in central and northern New Jersey willing to help with the
development of similar parks in those regions. Under the ATV legislation, the
DEP must purchase new land for the parks and may not use existing state park