A popular Somerset County park will see an increased police presence after illegal activity including swimming, drinking and littering put the its fate in jeopardy.
While the Somerset County Park Commission initially planned on restricting access to Washington Valley Park, local officials and authorities came up with a plan to keep them open.
A petition launched by local residents to keep that park open had garnered more than 2,600 signatures as of Tuesday morning. The petition was backed by Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench, who said in a local news report he stands with the concerned residents and "all other options must be exhausted."
That means more policing -- with help from the Somerset County Sheriff's Office.
The park has seen an uptick in cliff-jumping, public urinating and defecating and more illegal activities since the onset COVID-19 pandemic.
Last June, a 37-year-old Somerville man drowned after jumping from one of the cliffs at the park, prompting an increased police presence.
That month, officials issued 58 various ordinance violations and 85 parking summonses at the park. In July, 34 various ordinance violations and 85 parking summonses were issued around the park.
The 720-acre park boasts a 21-acre reservoir, more than seven miles of hiking and biking trails, scenic waterfalls and more.
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