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Park Rules and Regulations

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      Updated May 14, 2015

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Park Rules & regulations (PDF)
Revised and Adopted June 19, 2014

Section 1. DEFINITIONS

Whenever used in any Somerset County Park Commission Regulations, the following respective terms, unless otherwise therein expressly defined, shall mean and include each of the meanings herein respectively set forth:

 

a. "Commission": The Somerset County Park Commission, or its authorized representative.

b. "Commission Agent": Any officer, Commissioner, or employee of the Commission carrying out their responsibilities to the Commission or a contractor performing work in a Park in accordance with a contract with the Commission.

c. "Dusk": Sunset.

d. "Equestrian Trail or Bridle Path": Any path maintained for equestrians.

e. "Municipality": Respectively any city, town, township or borough within which any portion of a Park is situated.

f. "Off Road Vehicles": Any powered vehicle designed for cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other terrain which would include, but not limited to, such vehicles as all terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, amphibious and air cushion vehicles; except those vehicles utilized for fire, emergency or law enforcement purposes and any vehicle whose use is expressly authorized by the Commission.

g. "Opening": The time when gates, entrances or doors to Parks or facilities within Parks are opened to allow entrance to the public. Signs indicating an opening time shall be posted.

h. "Owner": Any person, firm, association, corporation or entity owning, operating or having the exclusive use of a Vehicle, under a lease or otherwise.

 

i. "Park or Parks": All the real property acquired by or under the jurisdiction and care of the Commission; or which hereafter may be acquired by it or come under its jurisdiction including, but not limited to, recreation areas, golf courses, reservations and preserves and any ancillary facilities thereon such as buildings or personal property thereon.

j. "Park Ranger or Ranger": Any person employed by the Commission as a Somerset County Park Ranger.

k. "Parking Place": Any part of the drive or space designated as a place for the standing of vehicles.

l. "Path": Any footpath, walk, or any path maintained for pedestrians.

m. "Pedestrian": A person afoot.

n. "Permit": Any written license issued by or under the authority of the Commission, permitting a special event or activity on Park facilities and grounds.

o. "Person": Any person, corporation, company, LLC, association, partnership, joint stock association, firm or entity. In lower case, "person" refers to a human being.

p. "Private Road or Drive": Every road or lane or driveway not open to the use of the public in general.

q. "Public Road or Drive": Every road or lane or driveway open to the use of the public in general.

r. "Regulation": Any regulation duly adopted, posted, and published by the Commission.

s. "Regulations": The compilation of each regulation duly adopted, posted and published by the Commission in a single document entitled Somerset County Park Commission Regulations.

t. "Right of Way": The privilege of the immediate use of the roadway, drive, and path.

u. "Safety Zone": Any space (within a drive) established for pedestrians.

v. "Stopping or Standing": Any cessation or movement of a vehicle occupied or not.

w. "Traffic": Means pedestrians, bicycles, ridden animals, vehicles, either singly or together, while in the confines of a Park.

x. "Vehicle": Any motor vehicle; any vehicle propelled by muscular or other power.

 

The Somerset County Park Commission hereby establishes the following regulations to ensure public safety and pleasure, as well as the protection and control of the parks, and all facilities contained within and upon property controlled by the Somerset County Park Commission.

Section 2. CONSTRUCTION

The Regulations and each Regulation shall be construed as follows:

 

a. Any term in the singular shall include the plural.

b. Any term in the masculine shall include the feminine.

c. Any requirement or prohibition of any act shall, respectively, extend to and include the causing and procuring, directly or indirectly, of such act.

d. No provision hereof shall be construed to make unlawful any (i) act necessarily performed by any officer or employee of the Commission in the line of duty or work as such, or (ii) by any person, his agents or employees, in the proper and necessary execution of the terms of any agreement with the Commission.

Section 3. TERRITORIAL SCOPE

These Regulations shall be effective within all Parks under the administration of the Commission and shall regulate the use thereof by all Persons.

Section 4. Domesticated Animals and Wildlife

a. Domesticated Animals:

 

1. Dogs: No person shall cause or permit a dog owned by him, in his custody or under his control to be in any part of a Park where the Commission has prohibited dogs. With the exception of supervised dogs within the confines of a Commission designated area where dogs are permitted to roam, all dogs within a Park must be restrained by a leash and kept under control at all times.

2. Cats: No person shall cause or permit a cat owned by him, in his custody or under his control to be in any part of a Park where the Commission has prohibited cats. All cats within a Park must be restrained by a leash and kept under control at all times.

3. Horses: No horse shall be driven, ridden or led within the Parks except at such locations designated for this activity by the Commission. No Person shall ride, drive, or lead a horse unless it is well broken and held constantly in such control that it may be easily or quickly turned and stopped. No horse shall be left unbridled or unattended in any unenclosed area without being securely fastened.

b. Wildlife:

 

1. Treatment of Animals: No person shall feed, hunt, harm, kill, wound, trap, take, chase, throw objects at, or intentionally disturb or remove, any animal from within a Park, including mammals, reptiles, birds or their eggs. This section shall not apply to the Commission and its personnel for any permits obtained from State or Federal Agencies regarding the treatment of animals or wildlife or their eggs.

2. Prohibition of Animal Disposal: No person shall dispose/drop-off any animal, whether domesticated or wild, in a Park.

3. Fishing: No person shall fish in any waters within a Park unless such waters are designated by the Commission as fishing waters and any fishing in such designated areas shall be done in full compliance with rules and regulations established by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife ("Division"). No person shall disturb, take from the waters, would or harm any fish except by utilizing fishing equipment consistent with rules and regulation established by the Division.

4. Prohibition of Introduction of Harmful Fish or Substances into Park Waters: No person shall place in Park waters any piscivorous fish, poison or any other substances injurious to fish.

5. Hunting: The Commission reserves the right to permit hunting on Park land as specified in Section 8.a.

Section5. prohibited conduct

a. Disorderly Persons Conduct:

1. Harassment: No person shall engage in any conduct including, but not limited to, using offensively coarse language, attempting to alarm or seriously annoy another person or subject or threaten to subject another person to striking, kicking, shoving, touching or other offensive touching in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4 and any amendments or successor statutes.

2. Disorderly Conduct: No person shall engage in conduct with the purpose of causing public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof by engaging in fighting, threatening or violent or tumultuous behavior or creating a hazardous or physically dangerous condition which serves no legitimate purpose. No person with the intent to offend the sensibilities of another person or with reckless disregard of the probability of so doing, shall engage in unreasonably loud and offensively coarse or abusive language, given the circumstances, to another person. These actions and any other actions which violate N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2 and any amendments or successor statutes, are prohibited in a Park.

3. Obstructing Free Passage of Traffic: No person shall render impassable without unreasonable inconvenience or hazard any Equestrian Trail, Path, Public or Private Road or Drive, whether alone or with others or fail to move when directed to so do by a Park Ranger to prevent such obstruction or engage in any other act in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-7 and any amendments or successor statutes.

4. Lewdness: No person shall commit a lewd act as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4 and any amendments or successor statutes.

5. Smoking: No person shall smoke or carry lighted cigarette, pipe or cigar containing tobacco into the Park areas identified in subsections 5(i) through and including 5(v). Violations of subsections 5(i) through and including 5(v) this regulation shall be reported to the Commission Manager responsible for the location or area in which the violation occurred. First offenses will result in a warning. Subsequent violations may be subject to a fine consistent with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-13.b. Violations of subsections 5(i) and 5(ii) of this regulation shall be subject to the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act, N.J.S.A. 26:3D-56 et. seq. and may be subject to the fines set forth therein in N.J.S.A. 26:3D-62. Commission Employees who violate this regulation may also be subject to action pursuant to the Commission's Human Resources Policy Number 57.

(i). In all interior spaces of all Park property, pursuant to the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act, N.J.S.A. 26:3D-56 et. seq., including garages and storage areas.

(ii). On Park property within 50 feet of any entrance or exit, and where smoking would result in smoke traveling through doorways, windows, air ducts or other openings.

(iii). On playgrounds, baseball fields, softball fields, multi-purpose fields, tennis courts, Warrenbrook Pool, and the roller hockey rink, including common areas to these facilities such as viewing areas, bleachers, and restrooms.

(iv). Within any Commission owned, leased or rented vehicle, including heavy equipment.

(v). At the Environmental Education Center, Lord Stirling Stable, and the Leonard J. Buck Garden, in order to protect animals, wildlife, and other cultural and historic resources.

6. Other Conduct Prohibited by Law: No person shall engage in any other conduct prohibited by law but not specifically listed herein.

 

b. Conduct Prohibited by Commission Regulations:

 

1. Fireworks and Explosives: No person shall have in his possession, bring into, or discharge in the Park, any explosives, firecrackers, torpedoes, rockets, or other fireworks, including any substance, compound, mixture, or article having properties of such a character that alone or in combination or conjunction with other substances or compounds, may decompose suddenly and generate sufficient heat, gas or pressure, of any or all of them to produce rapid flaming, combustion, or administer a destructive blow to surrounding objects.

2. Firearms, Weapons and Tools: No person shall bring into a Park or have in his/her possession within a Park any rifle, shotgun, air gun, spring gun, slingshot, bow or other instrument or weapon in which the propelling force is a spring or air except for lawful use of such weapons at times and locations prescribed by special permission of the Commission evidenced by a Permit. The following firearms, weapons and tools are not to be brought into a Park, possessed by a Person within a Park, or discharged within a Park:

(i). Any pistol or revolver or object upon which loaded or blank cartridges may be used.

(ii). Any tools, instruments, skeleton keys, picklocks, jimmies or other things known as burglar tools, except when authorized by law.

(iii). Any prohibited weapons listed in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3 and any amendments or successor statutes.

3. Off Road Vehicles: No person shall operate an Off Road Vehicle in a Park.

4. Soliciting: Solicitation for any purpose by a Person is prohibited.

5. Vending: No Person shall sell or offer for sale any object(s), merchandise, or other items within the Parks.

6. Amusement Rides/Games: Amusement rides/games are prohibited and no Person shall set-up or operate amusement rides/games within a Park.

7. Liquor or Drugs: No person shall drink, take, use or have in their possession any intoxicating liquors within a Park. No Person shall take, use or have in their possession any opiates or narcotics with a Park. No person intoxicated by alcohol, drugs or narcotics shall be allowed to enter or remain in a Park.

8. Nudity: No person shall appear in public in a Park in a state of nudity.

9. Defacing or Destruction of Property: No person shall injure, deface, cut out, displace, remove, fill in, raise, destroy, excavate, tamper, or create any disturbance to property contained within the Park whether it be natural or manmade. No artifact or any other organic or inorganic material may be removed from any historical area of the Park.

10. Climbing on Structures: No person shall climb or stand upon any wall, fence, shelter, seat, statue or other erection.

11. Littering: No person shall deposit litter in a Park, except in the designated receptacles provided. Recycling shall be in effect in all Parks.

12. Rubbish and Refuse Matter: No person shall take into, carry through, leave in, or throw, cast, lay, drop or discharge in any Park any rubbish, refuse, garbage or other materials into or suffer or permit any servant, agent, employee or person in his or her charge to do the same.

13. Natural Resources and Vegetation: No person shall discharge any foreign or waste substance in any lake, pond, river, lagoon or stream within a Park that may result in the pollution of said waters. No person shall excavate, pick, destroy, deface, remove, fill-in, cut or create any disturbance to vegetation within a Park without specific permission from the Commission or Commission Agent.

14. Removing Signs or Opening Barriers: No person except a Commission Agent shall remove or open permanent or temporary barriers, signs, directionals, gates or fences.

15. Glass Bottles or Containers: No person shall bring, carry or cause to be brought into the parks and recreation areas any glass bottles or other glass containers except upon special written permission of the Commission.

16. Damaging Ice on Waters: No person shall deposit on ice or in the water of any lake, pond, river, lagoon or stream within a Park any matter that tends to damage the ice for skating.

17. Failure to Abide by Commission Rules: No person shall be allowed to remain inside a Park who does not abide by the Regulations, Site-Specific Rules or conditions adopted and posted by the Commission for the preservation of good order and the protection of property within Parks. Any person directed to leave by a Park Ranger or other Commission Agent for failure to abide by these Commission rules shall do so promptly and peacefully.

18. Interference with Park Rangers or Other Commission Agent: No person shall fail to obey, interfere with or resist a Park Ranger or Other Commission Agent in the proper performance of his duties. Any person directed to leave the Park by a Park Ranger or Other Commission Agent shall do so promptly and peacefully.


Section 6. ACTIVITIES/CONDUCT PERMITTED ONLY IN DESIGNATED AREAS


 

a. Fires: No person shall kindle, build, maintain or use a fire except in places provided for such purposes, which places shall be designated by signage. The Commission may authorize a person(s) to kindle, build, maintain or use a fire at another location in a Park by issuance of a Permit and issuance of a permit from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service or its successors. The following rules apply to all fires:

1. All fires shall be continuously under the care and direction of a competent adult person from the time it is kindled until it is extin¬guished.

2. No fire shall be built within ten feet of any tree or building or beneath the branches of any tree or in any underbrush.

3. No lighted match, charcoal or other flammable material(s)shall be discarded carelessly or in a manner that may start a fire.

b. Changing/Disrobing: Changing/disrobing is permitted only in areas provided for such activity, which areas shall be designated by signage, or in tents utilized for camping by persons possessing a Permit.

c. Urinating or Defecating: Urinating or defecating are permitted only in restroom facilities provided in the Park, which shall be designated by signage, which facilities shall include portable johns provided by the Commission, a Commission Agent or a Person doing so in connection with a Permit.

d. Camping: Camping is permitted only at designated sites provided for such usage and within the occupancy limit approved for each site. A Permit is required for usage of camp sites. Any non-campers visiting campers must leave the Park by the time of Park closing.

e. Regulated Uses: The following activities are permitted only at times and in areas so designated for that purpose by the Commission and are otherwise prohibited within the Parks:

  a. Swimming, bathing, wading in rivers or ponds
b. Ice Skating and cross-country skiing
c. Model airplane flying
d. Boating on ponds/water bodies
e. Horseback riding
f. Golfing
g. Archery
h. Snowmobiling
i. Mini bikes and other vehicles
j. Mechanical sound amplification

All persons using the Parks must obey the posted rules and regulations established for their proper, effective, and safe utilization.

f. Spitting: No person shall spit within a Park except into a sink or a container provided for such purpose and any spit shall be dispersed of in a sanitary manner.

Section 7. permits

A Permit authorizing a Person to hold a meeting, athletic event or otherwise use a facility of the Commission for any special event may be granted upon receipt and review of a written application to the Commission. The Commission is not deemed to have approved the Permit request until the applicant is in receipt of such approval in writing, at least seven (7) days prior to the event. All conditions of the Permit approval must be adhered to. Any violation of the terms and conditions of the Permit, Commission, Regulations, Site-Specific Rules or Commission Conditions or falsifications in the Permit request shall constitute grounds for revocation of the Permit by the Commission or Commission Agent.

 

a. Requests in Advance: Requests to utilize facilities for events must be received by a set minimum number of days in advance of the requested date, ranging from a minimum of 14 days for picnics to 30 days for special events. The Commission reserves the right to revise the advance notification requirement for specific Permits without revising these Regulations. An area can be permitted for a maximum of 7 consecutive days.

b. Permittee Must Possess Permit: No event will be permitted on any Commission property unless a written Permit has been granted by the Commission. The permittee must have the original approved Permit in his/her possession at the site and time of the event.
c. Evidence of Insurance: A Permit applicant may be asked to provide satisfactory evidence of liability and personal property damage insurance in the aggregate amount of at least $1,000,000 combined single limit.

d. Documentation and Fees Required: A Permit will only be issued upon receipt of the signed Confirmation of Reservation Request, all applicable fees, and any other required documents.

e. Capacity Limitations: Permits will be issued in accordance with Commission established maximum carrying capacity limits for the site of the permitted activity.

f. Authority to Void or Alter: The Commission reserves the right to void or alter a Permit when it is in the best interest of the health, safety or welfare of the general public.

g. No Admission Fees: Admission fees may not be charged to any Park.

h. Approval of Concession Required: Any and all concessions associated with an event must be approved in advance, in writing, by the Commission. All food concessions must have a permit granted by the respective Health Department of the Municipality in which the event will be conducted, in addition to the Commission Permit. Both permits must be displayed.

i. Permits Required to Erect Tents or Temporary Structures: Persons who erect Tents and/or temporary structures must have a permit granted by the respective Municipality's Fire, Building or Safety Departments in which the event will be conducted, as well as a Permit from the Commission.

Section 8. ACTIVITIES REQUIRING SPECIAL PERMISSION

 

a. Hunting: Provided that the Commission adopts and maintains in effect a policy permitting hunting on Park land, hunting in accordance with the Commission policy and all applicable State laws and regulations shall be permitted. Any such Commission policy shall be in writing and shall require permission in writing signed by the Commission or a Commission Agent as mandated by current Commission hunting policy for a hunt to take place. Hunting in accordance with the terms set forth above shall be permitted notwithstanding other provisions in these Regulations which could be interpreted to prohibit such activity.

b. Alcoholic Beverages: The Commission may designate specific events and specific locations within Parks where alcoholic beverages may be consumed, but a Permit shall be required for alcohol to be consumed.

c. Advertising: No Person shall post, paint, affix, distribute, handout, deliver, place, cast or leave about, any bill, billboard, placard, ticket, handbill, circular, or advertisement or any of the following without a Permit. No Person shall engage in the following activities unless authorized by a Permit:

  1. Display any flag, banner, transparency, target, sign, placard, or any other matter for advertising purposes.

  2. Operate any musical instrument or soundtrack for advertising purposes or for the purpose of attracting   attention to any exhibition, show performance or other display.

  3. Conduct public speeches or rallies.

Section 9. OPERATING HOURS

The Commission reserves the right to establish operating hours for areas or facilities within Parks and to close Park areas specifically to address use and maintenance issues. Trail systems may be closed and rested, even re-routed for a number of years, if necessary, when degradation symptoms become evident. Some activities and uses may be restricted or prohibited in the interest of public safety or natural resource protection.

Section 10. OPENING HOURS

The Opening of all Parks will be at one-half hour prior to Sunrise as defined by the U.S. Weather Bureau for the Somerville Area unless otherwise specified or designated by signs.

Section 11. CLOSING HOURS

All Parks will close one half-hour after sunset as defined by the U.S. Weather Bureau for the Somerville area except where and when specific closing hours are designated.

Section 12. VEHICLES

 

a. Motor Vehicle Laws Shall Apply: All the provisions of the New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Act and Traffic Laws shall apply in the Parks and shall be strictly enforced with such further restrictions as may be hereinafter stated.

b. Vehicles Limited to Designated Areas: No person shall ride or drive any type of Vehicle within or upon a Path, Equestrian Trail, or any part of a Park not designated or customarily used for such purpose except or unless authorized by a specific Permit issued by the Commission.

c. Park Ranger Instructions to be Followed: When a Park Ranger is directing traffic, all drivers of Vehicles and pedestrians shall obey his orders and directions whether by hand, voice, or other manner.

d. Speed Limits: No person shall drive or propel, or cause to be propelled, along or over any road within Park, any Vehicle at any rate of speed greater than twenty-five (25) miles per hour or the limits as established by the Commission and/or Municipality (i.e. Colonial Drive) indicated by speed limit signs erected along the right-of-way.

e. No Careless Driving: No person shall drive or propel, or cause to be propelled, along or over any road within Park, any motor Vehicle in a careless manner or in a manner to endanger the life, limb, or property of pedestrians, or the drivers or occupants of other Vehicles, or any other person within a Park. The motor Vehicle operator, and the Vehicle being operated, must be in compliance with New Jersey State Motor Vehicle License and Safety Laws.

f. Driving Only on Roadways and in Parking Areas: No person shall use any portion of the Park for purpose of a Right of Way, except roadways and parking areas established for such purpose by the Commission. Paths established for pedestrian and bicycle travel and for Equestrian Trails shall not be used for vehicular travel. The use of mopeds or motorized bikes will be limited to roadways and parking areas as established and open to all other vehicular traffic.

g. Observing Safety Zones: Pedestrians have the Right-of-Way in Safety Zones and all Vehicles must be operated in a manner that allows Pedestrians to safely traverse a Safety Zone.

Section 13. PARKING

Parking is permissible in the Parks only to those who are using a Park and its facilities. No Owner or driver shall park any Vehicle anywhere outside of a designated Parking Place, or leave the Vehicle parked anywhere within a Park after Dusk except at such times and in such places as the Commission may designate. Any Vehicle parked or standing as to obstruct or impede a normal flow of traffic; blocking entrances or exit ways, loading zones, oil or gas fills, any grass area, fire zone or Path; left after Dusk or presenting in any way a safety or traffic hazard, may be removed by towing or otherwise. The cost of removal and storage shall be borne by the Owner and shall be paid before regaining possession of the Vehicle.


Section 14. MINORS

No parent or guardian or custodian of any minor shall permit or allow him to do any act prohibited by any Commission Regulation, Site Specific Rule or condition adopted and posted by the Commission. Parents, guardians or custodians of minors who accompany minors to a Park are responsible for their actions while within a Park.

Section 15. SITE SPECIFIC RULES AND REGULATIONS

In addition to the Regulations described herein, the Commission may adopt Site-Specific Rules applicable to a specific location within a Park.  Site-Specific Rules shall be fully enforceable on a location and facility basis as set forth below:

 

a. No Person shall fail to comply with any site-specific rules that have been adopted and promulgated by the Commission.

b. No Person shall fail to comply with any temporary restrictions that have been approved by the Commission or a Commission Agent to which adequate notice to the public has been given.

c. Any Person who fails to comply with either a site-specific rule or temporary restriction may be directed to leave the Park and may be subject to further penalties as determined by the Commission or local or state statute or regulation.

d. The following Park facilities and locations have Site-Specific Rules:

  1. Buck Garden
2. Colonial Park Gardens
3. Colonial Park Leash-Free Dog Area
4. Environmental Education Center
5. Lord Stirling Stable
6. Green Knoll Golf Course
7. Green Knoll Tennis Center
8. Neshanic Valley Golf Course
9. Quail Brook Golf Course
10. Spooky Brook Golf Course
11. Warrenbrook Golf Course
12. Warrenbrook Pool

All Persons planning to utilize any of these Park facilities or locations are directed to secure a copy of the applicable Site-Specific Rules.

e. The following activities require a special Permit to be carried out within a Park and said Permit will describe the Park or area of a Park in which the permittee will be allowed to carry on the activity:

  1. Athletic Field Permits
2. Dog and Horse Show Permits
3. Natural Area Permits
4. Picnic Permits
5. Rocket Launch and Flying Field Permits
6. Public Assembly Area Permits
7. Rental of Showmobile Permits
8. Special Event Permits

Section 16. PENALTIES

Any Person violating any provision of these Regulations shall forfeit and pay a fine or penalty therefore as may be fixed by the court in its discretion and in accordance with law, in many cases up to $500.00. In addition to any fines provided thereof, in many cases restitution for the cost, including labor, incurred by the Commission as a result of a Person's violation of a Regulation, may be ordered by the Judge or Magistrate.

Section 17. REPEAL

All regulations or parts thereof and all amendments thereto, heretofore adopted inconsistent with these Regulations are hereby repealed. The foregoing repeal shall not affect or impair any act done, offense committed, right accruing or acquired or liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred prior to the time these Regulations take effect; but the same may be enjoined, asserted, enforced, prosecuted or inflicted as fully and to the same extent as if these Regulations have not been adopted.

Section 18. VALIDITY

The invalidity of any aforesaid Regulation shall not affect the validity and enforceability of the remaining Regulations. These Regulations shall take effect after final adoption, and after publication according to New Jersey law, shall be made in five (5) newspapers circulating the County of Somerset once a week for two weeks, commencing not later than seven days after adoption by the Commission If any section, paragraph, subdivision, clause or regulations thereof shall be adjudged invalid, the remainder of the Regulations shall not thereby be invalidated but shall continue in full force and effect.