Monday, March 11, 2013
The DEP oversees the management of all state parks.
In an announcement dated Jan. 30, Superintendent of Ringwood State Park Eric Pain wrote, "This was not an easy decision to make as I am an advocate for all of our user groups and I am not in favor of closures. Unfortunately there was no way for me to guarantee the safety of park visitors through the completion of the project without closing the network of trails."
Suburban Trends spoke with Pain via telephone of the morning of March 7. He confirmed that the closures are limited to trails that directly intersect with the pipeline right of way and those that lead to such trails. When asked when the trails might reopen, Pain deferred to answer, saying that would have to come from "a senior staff member" at the DEP.
Several hours later, Larry Ragonese of the DEP contacted Suburban Trends with more information. "The trails were closed for safety and security during the Tennessee Gas project. That’s the only reason."
In response to a question regarding when the trails might be open again, Ragonese said, "I can’t give you an exact date yet. It depends on how the project moves along."
He did add, however, that it would "hopefully be by the end of April."
The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s construction project in the region is part of a larger expansion called the Northeast Upgrade. Running through New Jersey from northeast Pennsylvania to Mahwah, it includes the addition of a new 40-mile long pipeline being built parallel to an existing 60-year-old pipeline.
It should be noted that the grounds of Skylands Botanical Gardens and many of the park’s roadways remain accessible to those wishing to walk them during the completion of the construction.
For more information, or for clarification regarding the status of a specific trail, contact Ringwood State Park at 973-962-2240.