FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 13, 2007

CONTACT: Debra Judd, (908) 527-4930
Tom Plante, (908) 527-4746

WINTER SPORTS GUIDELINES ISSUED

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites the public to visit the County Park System to enjoy wintertime activities. Winter sports such as cross-country skiing, sledding and ice skating are permitted in several locations – weather, snow and ice conditions permitting.

Cross-country skiing is allowed at Ash Brook Golf Course in Scotch Plains, Oak Ridge Golf Course in Clark, and the Watchung Reservation. There is no location in the park system suitable for downhill skiing.

“Our parks offer many opportunities for winter enjoyment,” said Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski. “But it’s important for everyone to observe basic safety guidelines while engaging in winter outdoor activities.”

The “Summer Arts” concert area in Echo Lake Park in Mountainside, located off Springfield Avenue, is the only sanctioned site in the Union County park system for sledding. Please note that toboggans, bobsleds and other non-steerable devices are strongly discouraged at any time, for safety reasons. Children should be supervised at all times. The park supervisor may suspend sledding activities if there is not enough snow or if there are severe ice conditions.

Snowmobiles are strictly prohibited in the Union County Park System.

The Union County park system is heavily wooded. The parks sit in proximity to roadways and bodies of water that can be hazardous to sledders and snowboarders.

Galloping Hill Golf Course is not available for winter sports activities. Terrain of the course is considered too hazardous for this use. Snowboarding and sledding are also prohibited at the Ash Brook and Oak Ridge golf courses.

Ice skating is available in natural areas: Briant Park Lake in Summit; Warinanco Park Lagoon in Roselle; Black Brook Park Lake in Kenilworth; Nomahegan Park Lake in Cranford; Milton Lake Park in Rahway; Rahway River Park Lake in Rahway; Lake Surprise and Moxon Pond in the Watchung Reservation; and the extension lake and lagoon in Green Brook Park in Plainfield. These are non-lighted areas. For information about ice conditions at natural locations, call the Union County Police at (908) 654-9800. Signs announcing the suitability of any natural area for skating will be posted. The public is urged to observe any restrictions since these decisions are based upon the lake’s ice thickness and other safety concerns. All areas are unattended and used at the patrons’ own risk. Please observe all signs regarding ice conditions.

Ice hockey is permitted at designated skating areas at the discretion of the Union County Police. This decision is based upon the ratio of ice hockey skaters and non-hockey skaters proportionate to the size of the skating area. It is the County’s intention to provide adequate ice area for the enjoyment and safety of all skaters.

The Union County Department of Parks, Recreation & Facilities reserves the right to cancel winter sports at any park at any time if the conditions of the park are such that the safety of the public is in jeopardy.

For additional information regarding winter sports, call the Department of Parks, Recreation & Facilities at (908) 527-4900 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Information can also be obtained by visiting our website at www.ucnj.org/parks, or calling the Union County Parks hotline (908) 352-8410. For information about indoor ice skating, call the recorded message at the Warinanco Skating Center (908) 298-7850.