Fee Proposal Sparks Backlash from Boaters
The State Department of Environmental Protection's plan to impose a $3 fee for use of the walkway that allows access to Island Beach State park from Tice's Shoal is prompting backlash from boaters.
DEP spokesman Larry Hajna says the money would be used to pay for lifeguards, which would in turn allow the park to open more beach area for public use. And he says any parent can see the value of the plan.
"If I am the father of a 6-year-old boy, and we get off the boat and walk into the park and we decide we're going to spend a few hours on the beach and I fall asleep and my son is out in the water and gets caught in an undertow - there's going to be a lifeguard there to save him," Hajna said.
But boaters like Kelly Czupkiewicz say the fee is unfairly targeting water traffic.
"Pedestrian traffic on Island Beach State Park has always been free and it's still free," Czupkiewicz said. "They're keeping it free if you walk on through the front gate or ride a bike."
Czupkiewicz has created a petition against the fee. You can find it here.