Nature enthusiasts in Mahwah can have a say in shaping the future of the “wilderness” section of the Ramapo Mountains County Park this week.
County spokesperson Joe Appio announced in a recent release a Public Open House happening this Thursday that will, “inform park users about concepts under consideration to manage this wilderness park in the northwest section of Bergen County.”
The County’s Department of Parks and Department of Planning and Economic Development introduced a park management plan in 2010 that identified three possibilities for the future of this section of the park, and is now seeking public input on the options.
According to a park management newsletter outlining the options, the chosen plan will dictate the future management of the Stag Brook, McMillan Brook, Bear Swamp Brook, and Fox Brook areas of the reservation. The newsletter identifies three alternative plans under consideration.
The first, Alternative A, is a “No action,” plan, that would call for current management practices to continue.
Alternative B calls for a focus on ecosystem preservation through coordinated regional efforts. This plan calls for management to take a more holistic view of the area, and prompt coordination between the 4,500 acres of county parkland in the area, and the 16,000 acres of state and municipal parkland across the Bergen-Passaic border.
This plan calls for the county to work with the State Division of Parks and Forestry to improve joint access and management of the neighboring open spaces.
Alternative C suggests enhancing recreation and learning opportunities at the Reservation. This plan would focus on diversifying the park’s visitor base, building up “hands-on” recreation opportunities, developing programs and facilities for students, and expanding trails and access to environmentally sensitive areas.
Each Alternative outlines a management vision that could be implemented at the park for the next 15 to 20 years, the document explains.
“The Bergen County Department of Parks has not yet designated a preferred alternative,” the newsletter says.
The county could decide to implement one of the plans fully, or some type of combination.
Officials are asking locals to review the options presented in the newsletter, and provide their feedback and opinions at the Open House Thursday.
“Your comments and ideas on the preliminary alternatives will assist the county in selecting a preferred alternative,” the newsletter says.
The Open House is happening at the Mahwah Senior Center Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.