TRENTON — The budget showdown at the Statehouse could impact your holiday plans.

If the Assembly does not approve a budget by midnight on Friday it could mean the closure of state parks and beaches as early as Saturday.

During a press conference on Thursday, Gov. Chris Christie talked about closing state parks and beaches as early as Saturday.

"If Speaker Prieto wants to close the government, this is going to be his decision. I don’t want to see Speaker Prieto keeping people out of Liberty State Park this weekend for Fourth of July weekend. I don’t want to see Speaker Prieto stopping people from going to Island Beach State Park this weekend, during Fourth of July weekend, but this is purely up to him now," Christie said.

The list of state parks and beaches that would be affected includes:

  • Island Beach State Park and marina
  • Cheesequake State Park
  • Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
  • Cape May Point State Park
  • Allaire State Park
  • Bass River State Forest
  • Wharton State Forest
  • Monmouth Battlefield
  • Princeton Battlefield
  • Wharton State Forest
  • Round Valley Recreation Area

The impact of a closure on the Freedom Fireworks Festival scheduled for Tuesday at Liberty State Park is unclear.

During Monday's "Ask the Governor" on New Jersey 101.5, Christie said he was planning to spend time at the governor's beach house at Island Beach State Park.

In 2006, when the government shut down under Gov. Jon Corzine, road construction projects were required to wind down. Motor Vehicle Commission offices closed and about 45,000 state employees were furloughed. State courts were closed for anything but emergencies.

The state Lottery would also likely suspend operations.

State-run parks, beaches and historic sites remained open through the July 4 holiday during the 2006 impasse but closed afterward.

Gambling would continue in Atlantic City in the event of a shutdown. The sixth executive order of Christie's first term declared employees of the New Jersey Gaming Commission to be considered as essential personnel.

The order said that the state lost $1 million a day during the 2006 shutdown when casinos were closed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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