By Katie Lukshis
To the Editor:
Re “Gov. Christie to use fund for replacing destroyed trees to keep N.J. parks open during summer” (news article, April 12 http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/04/gov_christie_says_fund_for_rep.html):
New Jersey has undoubtedly been hit hard during these tough economic times. Our new governor wants to ensure that its residents have an affordable way to enjoy state parks during the summer months, even if it means restructuring an allocation of money from one project to fund this proposal. However, what Christie and his administration plan on doing seems counterproductive. They’re taking $10 million out of the Shade Tree and Community Forest Preservation License Plate Fund – a fund that restores the trees in forests for the public to visit.
Assemblyman Louis Greenwald made a good point after hearing Department of Environmental Protection’s Commissioner Bob Martin’s use of the money: this isn’t discretionary money to be moved around easily. This topic didn’t even seem to be up for debate amongst the Assembly Budget Committee – they were told how much the DEC would be taking and what it was being used for.
As an Environmental Studies student, I’m torn on this issue. While I feel like the money should be saved and used for its intended purpose, I also believe that state parks should remain open during the summer as it is when they see the most visitors. New Jersey is looking at budget cuts in all aspects that affect life, and tough decisions have to be made carefully and logically in order to conserve the natural resources we possess.