Public to weigh in on name, future of former Jungle Habitat site


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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 in December.



BY ANN GENADER

People who have opinions about what the state should name the former Jungle Habitat property and future uses for the site will have an opportunity to make them known next month.

The "stakeholder" meeting that the state promised town officials back in November to hold has been set for Tuesday, Feb. 6.

It will take place from 6-8 p.m. in the main meeting room of the muncipal building, 1480 Union Valley Road.

John Trontis, the assistant director of parks and forestry for the state Department of Environmental Protection, and Ringwood State Park Superintendent Eric Pain were at the November council meeting. They will be at next month's meeting to hear what stakeholders have to say.

Township Administrator Antoinette Battaglia said state officials will send fliers and/or an agenda to the township prior to the meeting. She said the information from the state will be posted and distributed as soon as it is received.

According to state officials, the Jungle Habitat name still belongs to Warner Brothers, developer of the 1950s theme park. They said they were advised by their attorney that therefore they could not use that name to identify the state park.

At the November meeting, Mayor Bettina Bieri suggested that Trontis reach out to Warner Brothers to see if they would sign over the Jungle Habitat name to the Township of West Milford, as it still is so important to many people familiar with the park. No doubt Trontis will be asked if he followed the mayor’s suggestion and has a response to her recommendation.

At the earlier meeting, Trontis recalled there was a long hill in the park and he said it might be appropriate to use “Long Hill” in creating the new name for the park. His other suggestion was to identify tree types there and name the park for one of them.

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