Report Illegal ORV Use for Safer, Healthier Trails

July 08, 2020
Melissa Cascini, Program Coordinator
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

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Report Illegal ORV Use for Safer, Healthier Trails

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The illegal use of off-road vehicles (ORV) on New Jersey state land is an issue that has been on the radar of the Trail Conference for decades.

This continues to be a growing issue, even though the use of ORVs is prohibited on most state land by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

In April 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the temporary closure of all state and county parks and forests to fight the spread of COVID-19. A dramatic increase in visible ORV damage to trails throughout the state was subsequently seen. Legal activities such as hiking help reduce ORV traffic, in part because permitted users report illegal incidents to the NJDEP Hotline at 1-877-WARNDEP.

Since the reopening of New Jersey state and county parks in early May, the Trail Conference has seen a rise in reports of illegal ORV sightings and the damage these vehicles are causing on the trails. Not only does the prohibited presence of these vehicles on trails pose a very serious safety risk to other users, but it also irreversibly damages trails and fragile lands. To help combat these issues, the Trail Conference is working with several organizations throughout the region to stop illegal ORV use.

While the Trail Conference continues to advocate for stricter enforcement of illegal ORV use, we are calling on all our volunteers, members, and lovers of trails to report what you see. As you return to the trails and seek solace in nature during the ongoing pandemic, it is your responsibility as a trail user to call NJDEP to alert them of any ORV sightings and damage.

Remember to only report sightings; do not confront ORV users yourself. Pick up your phone right now and save 1-877-WARNDEP in your contacts. By reporting sightings, you can take an active part in combating the impact of illegal ORV use.

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