In a monster victory for the Lacey Rail Trail Environmental Committee (a separate organization from SBB) the NJ DEP has denied Lacey Township’s CAFRA application to build a road on the Jersey Central RR Right of Way. A fifteen mile bike and walking trail is now possible. CONGRATULATIONS !!
Friends of Barnegat Bay,
In a major victory for the environment and for democracy, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has denied the CAFRA application of Lacey Township to put a paved road along the Jersey Central Right of Way.
The voters of Lacey Township had voted for a bike and walking trail with no road, but the town’s pro-development leadership went forward with an application for a road anyway.
A continuous fifteen mile bike and walking trail from South Toms River to Barnegat Township is now possible.
This is a monster victory for the Lacey Rail Trail Environmental Committee, and especially for its three heroic leaders, Helen Henderson (now a Project Manager for Save Barnegat Bay), Donna Bahrle (founder of Lacey Rail Trail Environmental Committee) and Allison Lemke.
It is a joy to see these leaders’ struggle to preserve the environmental and democratic interests of Lacey’s citizens so decisively vindicated. Even after Lacey Township citizens voted in their favor, these advocates received almost no support from any elected bodies. Save Barnegat Bay applauds their moral courage.
Save Barnegat Bay thanks NJDEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson, Assistant Commissioner Mark Mauriello, and Project Manager Charlie Welch for doing the right thing in a highly politicized situation.
Save Barnegat Bay hopes that the County of Ocean will now approach the Lacey Township Committee to explore ways of acquiring Lacey’s portion of the right of way with the goal of completing the fifteen mile linear park from South Toms River to Barnegat Township, with no road. Now the Freeholders must seize the moment.
A larger aspect of this victory is that the existence of a bike and walking trail may provide a backbone for conserved adjacent open space in many parts of the county south of Toms River.
This occasion provides an excellent opportunity for the County of Ocean to approach property owners of sites proposed for box stores along the right of way. They could explore the possibility of acquisition for park space adjacent to a bike and walking trail. A major environmental and lifestyle attraction is within reach for southern Ocean County.
Congratulations, Lacey Rail Trails!!
Read SBB’s comments requesting that NJDEP deny this application.