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AHOY, BOATERS: Cost at marinas would rise

2003 REDUX: Charges went up 2 years ago
DEP may bump state park fees


Published in the Asbury Park Press 05/6/05
By TODD B. BATES
ENVIRONMENTAL WRITER



Ed Trykowski rigs the mainsail on his 32-footer at Forked River State Marina in Lacey on Thursday. He's not fazed by rising fees.
PROPOSED FEE HIKES
A partial list of proposed increases in state park and related fees:

The daily boat launching fee at Leonardo State Marina, Middletown, and Liberty State Park, Jersey City, up $4, to $15 (a 36.4 percent increase); annual boat launching pass up $25, to $150 (20 percent).

The pleasure seasonal (April 1 to Oct. 31) berth-holder permit fee at Forked River State Marina, Lacey, up $8, to $60-per-foot length overall (15.4 percent). Daily transient berth-holder fees for vessels 40 feet and under up $1, to $2 per foot length overall (100 percent), and vessels 41 feet and longer up $1.25, to $2.50 per foot length overall (100 percent).

Daily boat launching fee at Corson's Inlet (between Memorial Day weekend and ending Labor Day) and Mullica River Boat Launch up $5, to $10 (100 percent), and the annual launch fee up $5, to $55 (10 percent).

Family campsite fee up $5, to $20 a night (33.3 percent); wilderness campsite fee up $5, to $17 a night (41.7 percent); lean-to fee up $5, to $30 a night (20 percent); shelter fee up $2, to $10 a bunk per night (25 percent) based on the number of bunks; and yurt (circular tent with wooden frame and concrete floor) fee up $5, to $30 a night (20 percent).

Homeowner's firewood permit, up $5, to $20 a cord (33.3 percent).
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SOURCE: N.J. Department of Environmental Protection

For the second time in two years, New Jersey wants to raise some fees at state parks, campsites and other facilities, including Leonardo State Marina in Middletown and Forked River State Marina in Lacey.

Some boaters and others weren't pleased Thursday when told of the Department of Environmental Protection proposal, which would double some fees.

Jim Garbutt, a 63-year-old real estate broker who lives in Abington, Pa., was attempting to launch his boat at the Leonardo marina to go fishing. The daily launch fee there would rise from $11 to $15 ? a 36.4 percent increase ? on top of an increase from $9.75 in 2003.

"By the time you have all these fees, you've got to be a rich man to own a boat anymore," Garbutt said.

His buddy, Tom Holst, a 63-year-old retiree who lives in Doylestown, Pa., called $15 "too much. . . . It's a big percentage (increase)."

Holst said he just moved from Long Valley in Morris County to Pennsylvania "because of taxes, real estate taxes that are outrageous in all of the state of New Jersey."

The DEP, which increased fees at state parks, forests, recreation areas and marinas in 2003, says the proposed increases are needed to offset State Park Service operating cost increases and "the increased cost of restructuring the . . . law enforcement component to ensure that the public can continue to enjoy the parks in safety," according to the agency's rule proposal.

The DEP oversees 39 parks, 11 forests, three recreation areas and 57 historic sites and districts, according to the DEP Web site.

In 2003, the state budget approved by the Legislature and then-Gov. James E. McGreevey allowed the DEP to increase park fees ? in many cases, for the first time in more than a decade.

That year, an annual parking pass at state parks, forests and recreation areas for New Jersey residents increased to $50, up from $35, while the daily parking fee became $10 on weekends, up from $7, at Island Beach State Park from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. An annual mobile sportfishing vehicle permit at Island Beachrose to $195, up from $125, in 2003.

The current DEP proposal would not increase those fees.

Legislators briefed

A registration system and fees for off-road vehicles may provide one potential source of funding, according to a prepared budget statement by DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell for the Assembly Budget Committee.

Last year, the Legislature provided $2 million in capital funding for state park recreational facilities, but such funding cannot be provided this year, according to the statement.

"Our parks are in desperate need of repair," says Campbell's statement, which is on the state Office of Legislative Services Web site.

The DEP has identified more than $220 million in needed repairs to state-owned parks and forest resources, and "the amount continues to increase as we further defer needed maintenance," the statement says.

Asked about the proposed fee increases, captain Ken Grover, who co-owns the Freddy-C, an 85-foot party fishing boat docked at the Leonardo marina, said: "What does anyone think when the prices go up? Nothing you can do, though."

Grover, a resident of Middletown's Leonardo section, called the Forked River State Marina "a beautiful marina" but said the Leonardo marina "needs work."

"We had to fix our own piling about a week ago," Grover said.

Meanwhile, a customer fell a week ago while trying to get into his boat but was uninjured, he said. "It's a liability for the state, you would think."

"I don't mind if the fees go up as long as it was done right . . . as long as everything was fixed correctly," Grover said.

And the Leonardo marina is "a little bit cheaper than every other marina," Grover said.

Thomas P. Fote, a Dover resident and recreational fisherman, is legislative chairman of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association and the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs. He said the proposed fee increases, on top of rising gasoline prices, will make boating too expensive for some families.

"They're nickeling and diming us to death," Fote said.

"The Legislature and the governor need to appropriate the proper amount of money to run the parks," he said.
 

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Jersey ought to take some lessons from Florida. State run parks, swimming beaches, boat ramps with plenty of parking, 24 hr security, good lighting, multiple ramps with floating docks, daily maintainence, rest rooms with running water and TRASH CANS(no carry in/carry out bullsh*t-no wonder there is litter everywhere in Jersey!)......ALL FREE for use by tax paying residents and tourists. And they are BEAUTIFUL!

Brad Campbell should use them as a model for our state!
 

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LOL u said state parks....thought u said skate parks..
 

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3rd most indebted state in the country. What do you want for your tax dollars? Doesn't the present Gov what do take back home rebates too? I love the stat where when NJ residents were asked if they could leave NJ over 70% would leave if they could. It is getting to that point for myself. Too much crap for absolutely nothing in return.
 

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edhead,
Yep, under the current budjet on the table all NJ Resident Prop.Tax Payers except the Seniors and Disabled will lose those Tax Rebate's that
have been in existense since the Whitman ERA..
 

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Originally posted by finaddict5:
Jersey ought to take some lessons from Florida. State run parks, swimming beaches, boat ramps with plenty of parking, 24 hr security, good lighting, multiple ramps with floating docks, daily maintainence, rest rooms with running water and TRASH CANS(no carry in/carry out bullsh*t-no wonder there is litter everywhere in Jersey!)......ALL FREE for use by tax paying residents and tourists. And they are BEAUTIFUL!

You are absolutely correct. What I find to be amazing or fiscally amazing is Florida does NOT have any personal state income taxation either. What is NJ doing with all the money? :rolleyes:

Brad Campbell should use them as a model for our state!
 
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