NJDEP To Close Down Five WMA Locations To Summer Activities - The Fisherman

NJDEP To Close Down Five WMA Locations To Summer Activities

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and its Division of Fish & Wildlife, the agency will again close areas within five Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) in New Jersey “In order to protect public safety and natural resources.”

“These areas have attracted large crowds and unauthorized activities – including swimming and off-road vehicle use – creating an unsafe environment,” NJDEP announced in a press releasing, explaining that some areas that have been seasonally closed in previous years will remain open this year with zero tolerance for illegal swimming, illegal parking, and any other violation of WMA regulations.

Signs will be posted in the closed areas and New Jersey Conservation Police Officers will be enforcing the closures.  The closures are pursuant to N.J.S.A. 23:7-9 and N.J.A.C. 7:25-2.26 and are effective May 23, 2024, through September 2, 2024.  These areas will reopen on Tuesday, September 3, 2024.

“NJDEP Fish & Wildlife regrets having to close these areas and understands the frustration of law-abiding users of the Wildlife Management Area system and has worked hard to address these concerns and adapted this year’s seasonal closures accordingly,” the press release stated, adding “If illegal activities and unsafe situations occur at any Wildlife Management Area, NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Conservation Police reserve the right to close all or part of any WMA to ensure public safety and resource protection.”

As far as legal activities like hunting and fishing, fees from which have helped purchase and continually fund these Wildlife Management Areas, the NJDEP press release said little except “Thank you for your anticipated cooperation!”  A subsequent email blast from the NJDEP on May 13 noted specifically “WMAs are maintained and supported with funding from hunting and fishing license sales, the Federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the Wildlife Habitat Supporter Program.”

Closure area maps are shown below through the Wildlife Management Area Explorer App:

Cedar Lake WMA – Sand Plant Area

Greenwood Forest WMA – Parkers Pit Area and Clay Holes Area

Menantico Ponds WMA* – Area 1, Area 2, and Area 3

Wildcat Ridge WMA – Area in Splitrock Reservoir known as “The Cliffs”

Winslow WMA – Winslow East (Hot Mix) Area

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