11 October 2010

If You Build It, They Will Camp, part 2

The mission of the Somerset County Parks Commission, going all the way back to its formation in the mid 50s, is to provide recreational opportunities for county residents. To that end, they have built facilities for tennis and golf, hiking and fishing, baseball and bocce. But one recreational pastime oft-mentioned as a projected use of Somerset County parks has been lately overlooked.

Overnight camping.
Hillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown Preserve

Yes, I know, you can get a permit for group camping for scouts at Colonial Park, but I still believe this falls short of the Parks Commission's original objectives.

In 1973, as the county was about to purchase 900 acres to add to the original 700 acres of what would eventually become the Sourland Mountain Preserve, the commission reiterated their desire to include overnight camping as a component of the park. Sadly, despite the preserve growing to 3000 acres, that has never come to pass.

Thirty years later, we are getting a second chance. With the pending cleanup of the former GSA Depot, Somerset County - which co-owns the properly with Hillsborough Township - will have an opportunity to allow camping on the edge of the Sourlands by incorporating the facilities needed into the plan for the proposed park.

What do you think?

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