Jungle Habitat Identification structure is gone


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  • Photo by Don Webb The last trace of the former Jungle Habitat site in West Milford, an archway made of telephone poles, was torn down on Monday, Dec. 4.



BY ANN GENADER

When state officials announced in November that the Jungle Habitat property would be rebranded with a new look and name, locals were not aware the change would happen as soon as Dec. 4.

After heading up Airport Road off West Milford’s Marshall Hill Road and reaching the old Jungle Habitat entrance, people will now see a newly widened parking area. The familiar archway that remained after the park opened in 1972 and closed in 1976 – still there just weeks ago – is now missing.

State workers removed the structure. Associate Director of New Jersey Park Services John Trontis and Superintendent of Ringwood State Park Eric Pain at the Nov. 8 Township of West Milford council meeting disclosed information about future plans for the state-owned property. They represented the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Parks and Forestry.

The two state representatives said at that meeting that ideas from local officials and residents – “stakeholders” – would be heard and recorded. They said a meeting to hear the ideas and thoughts of the public would be held and a date for the meeting would be announced. So far this has not happened.

One of the things the state will be looking for at the public meeting is suggestions for a new title for the park. Jungle Habitat is a name still belonging to Warner Brothers and legally cannot be used for the rebranded facility.

Pain said in his presentation that work is scheduled to start in the spring and will be done piecemeal. He told the council that the changes are being made in an effort to make the pristine area more accessible to everyone. There was already a suggestion to use some of the removed bolted together poles in a kiosk in recognition of the former site and to help retain historic memories.

With the center island where the poles were located removed, the area will be replaced with as many as 60 parking spaces without expanding the existing asphalt, the state representatives said. Before there was only parking room for about 15 to 20 vehicles.

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