New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Conservation Foundation Menu
NJCF Homepage Contact Us Donate Events Search NJCF
New Jersey Land Conservation Organization
Donate to New Jersey Conservation Foundation
State We're In New Jersey Conservation Foundation Blog
State targets illegal dumpers in parks and forests
4/13/2017 Volume XLVII, No. 15

It’s a gorgeous day, you’ve arrived at your favorite park and are looking forward to a hike, some bird-watching, photography and soaking in the sights and sounds of nature. You’ve gone a short distance when you come across – yikes! - a pile of construction debris, an old refrigerator, bags of trash and other junk.

This scene is encountered by New Jersey outdoor lovers all too often. But it’s one that the state is working to combat through a beefed-up enforcement and awareness campaign.

This month is the third anniversary of "Don't Waste Our Open Space," a coordinated effort launched by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in response to increased dumping on the state’s natural lands.

“Public lands all over New Jersey are being used as dumping grounds,” according to the Department of Environmental Protection. “Litter, garbage bags, tires, televisions, electronic waste, appliances, yard waste and construction debris are being dumped and threatening our local environment, animals and public.”

The state owns and manages more than 170 parks, forests, wildlife management areas and preserves on some 813,000 acres of open space in this state we’re in.

Not only does illegal dumping mar the natural beauty of these lands, it can cost taxpayers a lot of money to clean up. It also jeopardizes public health when hazardous chemicals are dumped.

Since the start of the “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” campaign, State Park Police and Division of Fish and Wildlife conservation officers have arrested more than 130 people. Investigations have been initiated in all 21 counties.

Those nabbed in the past year include a Mercer County man charged with dumping drums of dry-cleaning chemicals along the towpath at the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park; a hauler who allegedly collected trash from a park site in Philadelphia and dumped it in a Gloucester County wildlife management area; and a Passaic County man accused of discarding a couch at Allamuchy Mountain State Park in Sussex County. Owners of abandoned boats, trailers, campers and motor vehicles have also been caught.

Technology is assisting in the crackdown, as State Park Police and conservation officers have installed motion-sensor cameras in strategic locations.

Citizens who love public lands and want to enjoy them in a clean and beautiful state can help by reporting dumping. “We welcome the additional eyes, ears and voices that our visitors provide,” said Terri Genardi, chief of the State Park Police.

The Department of Environmental Protection has created an app to allow park visitors to take photos on their phones and submit them directly to enforcement officers. Visitors without smartphones can call 1-877-WARN-DEP to report possible violations.

An interactive map developed by the state shows where illegal dumping has occurred, who was charged with violations and how much they could pay in fines if found guilty. The map, the web app and other information can be viewed at

In addition to the "Don't Waste Our Open Space" campaign, the Department of Environmental Protection is helping other government agencies in urban areas crack down on illegal dumping.

For example, the state has partnered with the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission to install surveillance cameras in its service area in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Union counties. As a result, numerous civil summonses have been issued and more are anticipated.

The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission’s efforts to curb dumping date to at least 1998, when it created a program that resulted in the removal of more than 12,000 tons of debris from Newark Bay, the Passaic River and its tributaries.

Hats off to the state for clamping down on illegal dumping! Hopefully, the combination of better surveillance, citizen assistance, more arrests and stiffer penalties will discourage would-be polluters from dumping their waste at taxpayer expense.

For more information on state parks and forests, go to

And to learn more about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at or contact me at



Without its 'understory' layer, the forest will collapse

From whale songs to poetry, a remarkable journey

A cleaner, greener New Jersey

Let's keep New Jersey the Garden State, not the Pipeline State

New Jersey's winter hikes

'Trees don't vote' but Byrne saved Pine Barrens anyway

Governor-elect Murphy should set new course on the environment

Protect soils to keep the garden in our state

Clean, plentiful water is New Jersey's lifeblood

A breath of fresh air for New Jersey?

Keep Liberty State Park free and open

A green agenda for Governor-elect Murphy

Life, liberty ... and a clean environment

New Jersey's aging water infrastructure

The land before time: NJ's Kittatinny Ridge & Valley

While bats hibernate, scientists hope for survival

Natural Resource Damages fund new parks and preserves

Save menhaden, a humble but mighty fish

Ballot question approval would lock in environmental funds

Sandy Millspaugh: Conservation Trailblazer

Extreme hurricanes highlight concerns about climate change

'Head start' for corn snakes

Protecting the Highlands - it's the water

When you could walk from New Jersey to Morocco

A bold plan for the planet

New Jersey's energy future at a crossroads

Tiny insect will have a huge impact on New Jersey

Protect New Jersey's Pine Barrens

Enjoy New Jersey's forests!

Maine-to-Florida urban trail celebrates 25 years

Rare plants and animals need help!

Ban offshore drilling and seismic testing off NJ coast!

Summertime and the digging is easy

Is the elusive bobcat here to stay?

NJ water supply plan rings alarm bells

NJ's Piedmont: Formed by volcanoes and erosion

Defend public health and safety in state budget

'Magical' early 17-year cicadas

June and open space: Perfect together

Hit the trails on June 3, National Trails Day

Socializing with nature

Preserve land - and state's in lieu of taxes program

New Jersey's 'marl' pits yield dinosaur discoveries

Vernal pools: Now you see 'em, now you don't

State targets illegal dumpers in parks and forests

Former governors and elected leaders stand up for environment

Join CSAs to support local farms, save money, eat better

Weather extremes may be New Jersey's new normal

Bald eagles and ospreys rebound in New Jersey

Pine Barrens prescribed fires: A renewal force


February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011


New Jersey Conservation Foundation on FacebookNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on TwitterNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on FlickrNew Jersey Conservation Foundation YouTube ChannelShare      
New Jersey Conservation Foundation           Bamboo Brook, 170 Longview Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931           908-234-1225 
home  | nj statewide eventscontact us  |  sitemap  |  privacy policy  |  DONATE