Trashing New Jersey’s Open Space — Not a Minor Offense
A boat and trailer. Car parts. Hazardous chemicals. A couch. Household trash.
That's just a sample of what's been illegally dumped in state parks, forests and wildlife management areas over the past three years.
During that time frame, the state Department of Environmental Protection has been cracking down on the practice through their "Don't Waste Our Open Space" campaign.
Officers have logged more than 130 arrests since March 2014.
"In some cases, people have left identifying material in the items they have dumped," DEP spokeswoman Caryn Shinske told the Townsquare News Network. "Sometimes people are caught on camera, and sometimes eyewitnesses have reported what they've seen."
A Mercer County man faces fines exceeding $25,000 after four barrels of dry cleaning chemicals were discovered on the Delaware & Raritan Canal tow path on Duck Island in Hamilton Township.
A pop-up camper found in Brendan Byrne State Forest was traced back to a Pemberton man, who was charged after admitting to owning the camper.
Cameras recorded a Paterson man dumping a couch in Allamuchy Mountain State Park.
Investigations on state lands have been initiated in all 21 counties since the program's launch.
The department owns and manages approximately 813,000 acres of open space, and it's been a top priority to keep these acres free of debris so the public can enjoy them in their natural state, Shinske said.
If the defendant does not remove the debris on their own, DEP is given the task and could demand repayment for the work.
If you see or become aware of illegal dumping in a sensitive area, the department can be reached at 877-WARN-DEP.