The Township of West Milford recently had to take drastic action to prevent illegal activities from continuing on Township property.
Several trees were knocked down in order to block motor vehicle access to an area that is illegally used to ride ATV and dirt bikes. The township confirmed with the state that such action complies with the Green Acres regulations that govern this particular parcel of property.
Police said eliminating access to vehicles will prevent the further environmental degradation of the area, and the long-term benefits of having the area reclaimed by the forest far outweigh the temporary measures that were required. Past actions of removing ramps, blocking entrances and increasing police patrols were ineffective in dissuading the illegal activities from continuing. Moreover, as the activities were taking place on township property, they posed a significant financial liability to the Township.
Police said the township is purposefully not identifying the area in this to prevent promoting the illegal activities that were occurring. The actions taken may not prevent all illegal activities on the property, but officials hope is that it is reduced to a level that will allow neighboring residents to enjoy the area for passive recreation.
Last year alone, there were 134 complaints about illegal ATV activity throughout the Township. Each of these complaints must be investigated, which drains resources. Fifteen summonses involving ATVs and dirt bikes were issued last year. Just this past weekend, ATVs were involved in a hit and run with injuries.