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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Help Save an Urban Greenspace from "Development"; Sign The Petition for Rifle Camp Park / Garret Mountain

I'm poor. I'm chronically ill. I live in Paterson, NJ. My parents were immigrants.

Paterson is majority-minority. It is largely an African American, Muslim, and Hispanic city.

On those rare occasions when my suburban co-workers give me a ride home, one sound seals what my address means. As we cross the border and enter Paterson – CLICK – their car doors lock.

Nature is my lifeline. Nature heals me. Nature shows me God. No matter what figure my bank account records. No matter what diagnosis the doc has to share. No matter if my car has just been vandalized. Through Nature, I transcend. After I got the last, scary diagnosis. I went for a long walk. At Garret Mountain.

You see, Paterson has nature: Rifle Camp Park / Garret Mountain is a park complex located partially in Paterson, New Jersey, and partially in what used to be West Paterson, but what changed its name, in recent years, to Woodland Park, so that its residents would not suffer the stigma of association with Paterson.

Rifle Camp Park / Garret Mountain is not just *any* park. It is, in fact, world famous.

Birds migrate. For migration, they require habitat. Habitat = water, native plants, and a critical mass of these, far enough away from predators, that they can survive their migration.

Migrating birds follow routes, routes that are hammered into the birds by evolution and vast reaches of geologic time. New Jersey is a vital passage on the Atlantic Flyway.

New Jersey is the most densely populated state. That makes it, potentially, the most deadly for migrating birds. Even so, Nature insists that the birds follow the Atlantic Flyway, right over New Jersey's shopping malls, freeways, and parking lots, all of which spell death for birds.

This is where Rifle Camp Park / Garret Mountain comes in.

Yes, I live in Paterson. And, guess what. I AM PROUD TO BE A PATERSONIAN! Because we survive. Because of Alexander Hamilton. And because of Rifle Camp Park / Garret Mountain.

This park is a destination for *international* birders. Because it is a destination for *international* birds. This park, surrounded by New Jersey's traffic-jamming, nerve-rattling, floodplain-exhausting urban development, is green. It is nature. It is a migrant oasis. Of international standing. I've seen bald eagles here. A Mississippi kite, far from home. Great Horned Owls. All in my own city.

People want to destroy Rifle Camp Park / Garret Mountain. The Passaic County Freeholders, and writer Christopher Maag, say, "Hey, we see some trees left in New Jersey – trees being enjoyed by poor and brown people. By immigrants! By birds! And people who come from thousands of miles away to see those birds! Can't have that!

"Let's cut the trees, pave the earth, and build a golf course! So rich white suburbanite hipsters can play golf in poor minority people's one place to experience nature.

Hey, the northern, richer, whiter portion of Passaic County has plenty of trees. Poor, brown, and immigrant southern Passaic County don't need no stinkin' trees."

If you care about birds having this one oasis when they are making their epic migration north, if you think a poor black kid has as much right to see a robin's nest as a rich white kid, then please sign our petition.

Thank you.

Friends of Garret Mountain Facebook page is here:


  1. I am not sure if you are misinformed or trying to misinform people, but the proposal is not for a regular ball golf course. Admittedly, that would require tearing down a lot of trees, and is an expensive and exclusive sport for sure.

    The proposal is for a disc golf course, which has a much smaller footprint and are built to wind through the woods​ with minimal tree removal required. It's also a sport that is very affordable and accessible, not just for rich white folks.

    1. "trying to misinform people"


    2. Reading through the petition signatures, the misconception that they are trying to tear down a ton of trees to build a ritzy ball golf course is one that a lot of people seem to believe.

      As I said before a disc golf course is much less impactful, so yes, if someone is knowingly spreading this misconception I would say they are misinforming people.

    3. Hi, I wish you'd supply a name. "Anonymous" is ... not the best way to communicate.

      I have not read through the comments on the petition, but I would like to. Can you tell me how to do that?

      Thanks if you can.

      As for purposely spreading misinformation -- that's not a nice thing to say. Please give it a rest, unless you have some evidence to support this charge.

      Thank you.

  2. The are enough accidents on that road more traffic...more injuries...inside the park too who will pay if someone gets hurt since it will be IN a county park the county? Think about that..TICKS are very bad this yr your dog can spread even more when you take it home to multiple more ( ticks can fall off animals into a car/home etc)then blame the deer flee/tick meds keep the bugs off the skin not the know them poor things that cannot speak for themselves, the deer ..they will start traveling out of the park even more and may cause injuries because they will be scared w/ accidents..taking away homes of many living creatures so people can play/fight/hang out / throw trash everywhere...and don't forget the taxes when they get raised so they can hire more security/ come ice skating was prohibited all these yrs now its ok?? Again you fall break a bone your responsibility..I can go on n on...