Create a State or County Park in Cumberland County, New Jersey.

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Over the last 4 years, I have had the pleasure of leading Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs in Cumberland County. As a 4-H leader, I have watched youth transform from shy children into pioneers who are not afraid to accept new challenges thrown their way. Currently we have roughly 50 members divided between 3 different 4-H clubs, with those numbers increasing every year.

The experiences gained have been those of joy, discovery, and determination. But for myself, the experiences have been eye opening. As a proud resident of Cumberland County, I have had my eyes opened to many things that most people do not know, or wish to ignore.

Cumberland County is a leader in many things, but not many of them good. We have the highest obesity rate in the state, the highest tax rate per $100 of assessed house value, and call the largest city by size home here. We are home to record breaking five correctional facilities, yes FIVE, including federal, state, and county centers. 

The true problem is where we fall short. Our beloved county is the lowest income county in the state. We have some of the lowest home values around, and crime and drug use continue to climb. 

There is one area we fall short in that I take to heart. As a father of two young kids who love the outdoors, I am sad to say, we are the ONLY County in New Jersey that does not have a state, or county park. 

Cumberland County is home to some of the greatest natural resources in the state. The Maurice River Watershed is the cleanest around, and countless tourists flock from states away to enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature has blessed upon our county. Yet the youth of Cumberland County cannot even pitch a tent and enjoy it. 

Please join me in a fight to make nature accessible to residents of our county. Take a look at any of the parks around our neighboring counties, and ask yourself, "Don't we deserve the same?"