N.J. government shutdown affects parks and ferries
New Jersey residents were feeling the impact as a state government shutdown took effect Saturday, shuttering parks and other public sites and disrupting ferry service to Liberty and Ellis islands.
Among those affected were a group of Cub Scouts forced to leave a state park campsite and people trying to obtain or renew documents from the state motor vehicle commission, among the agencies closed by the shutdown.
Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Christie (R) and the Democratic legislature returned to the statehouse Saturday to try to resolve the shutdown, which came about after leaders failed to reach an agreement on a new budget by Friday night’s deadline.
Andrew Spears, a leader with Cub Scout Pack 124 in Tinton Falls, said his group was told to leave Cheesequake State Park on Saturday morning.
Liberty State Park was closed, forcing the suspension of ticket sales and ferry service from the site to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Also closed was Island Beach State Park, where the state owns a residence the governor can use. Christie had said he was planning to be there for the Fourth of July holiday, but on Friday he said he would stay in Trenton if the government shut down but his family would still go to Island Beach.
Asked Saturday if it was fair for his family to be able to use the park while others couldn’t, Christie was defiant. “The governor has a residence at Island Beach,” he said. “Others don’t. That’s the way it goes. Run for governor and you can have the residence.”