Illegal Trespassing – Off-Road Enforcement Details – The Lacey Township Police Department will be working with the New Jersey State Police (Garden State Parkway), Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, Ocean Township Police Department (Waretown), Barnegat Township Police Department, as well as the New Jersey State Park Police to quell the influx of persons in off-road vehicles trespassing on private property and protected conservation lands in the wooded areas of Lacey Township, Ocean Township, and Barnegat Township. The details will begin this weekend and continue through to the Memorial Day weekend to reduce very serious injuries and offenses that have been occurring. A recent incident involved a 20-year-old male suffering a broken neck as a passenger in a truck that literally went airborne into trees and flipped over while the group was trespassing on private property. Another recent incident involved an elderly property owner discharging a firearm in fear of a vehicle attempting to come toward his home from the wooded area. The issue of off-road vehicles in the wooded areas is not a simple matter of trespassing, as it has been a significant public safety concern with some of the most serious criminal offenses occurring in the woods west of the Garden State Parkway.
The details are being scheduled in response to repeated problems with ATVs, dirt-bikes, and vehicles operating on private property. With the warm weather approaching and the significant forest fire concerns, the Lacey Township Police Department is working to quell the anticipated influx of people from North Jersey, other counties, and surrounding states. The groups bring trailers full of bikes/ATVs and staged along the powerlines and areas throughout the western part of the township. In recent years, a main entry point has become immediately off the Garden State Parkway, so the New Jersey State Police have been asked for assistance.
The details are designed to prevent the problem from continuing by not permitting the off-roaders to enter the property and break the law. The details are designed to turn the trucks and trailers away before they can enter the powerlines or other private property. Potential violators will be turned away and advised of the restrictions, while those found in violation will be charged with the applicable offenses.
Violators often park their trailers in various areas throughout the woods west of the GSP as well as down in Ocean Township along Rt. 532. The concern covers over a 100 square-mile area between Waretown and Forked River. The problem does tend to center on several areas in Lacey Township long used for camping and riding.
The trespassing and violations of the ATV laws tend to grow significantly at times due to online forums, websites, etc., which, from time to time, profile Lacey Township as a place to ride. Much of the 60 square miles west of the Garden State Parkway is private property which means the individual ATV operator would need to have in his or her possession written permission from the specific property owner to ride on the property. In the past, people have traveled from as far away as Ohio, Maryland, and Connecticut to camp overnight and ride in Lacey Township.
Additional issues that must be addressed include the fire concerns that State Forest Fire Service officials have expressed this year. The dense growth and the unusually dry conditions (even after rain) pose a significant threat which make the enforcement details more important than ever.
Again, this release and the details are designed to raise awareness and significantly reduce the problems. Please share this release to spread the word.