Not only did we experience the summer solstice 2017 in the Northern Hemisphere at 12:24 AM on Wednesday, June 21 (EST); but that very same day, school closed in Jefferson Township for summer recess!  Gone are the heavy coats and sweaters, boots, hats, and scarves – it’s time to enjoy the warmth of the sun, be outdoors and keep those children safe, engaged, and active.  What better way than to take them to one of Jefferson Township’s many parks and playgrounds; and best of all, they all have free access!

Jefferson South:

  • Schwarz Park, 81 Schwarz Boulevard, Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • Child’s Park (East Shore), 82 East Shore Road, Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • Lakeside Recreation Complex, 15 Swan Lane (Bowling Green Parkway & Route 15   South) Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • Prospect Point Park, 30 Florida Avenue, Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • Fireman’s Field, 750 State Route 15 South, Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • Camp Jefferson*, 81 Weldon Road, Lake Hopatcong, NJ

Jefferson North:

  • Dogwood Park, 2 Dogwood Drive, Oak Ridge, NJ
  • Longwood Lake Park, 13 Longwood Lake Road, Oak Ridge, NJ
  • Chamberlain Road Recreation Complex, 48 Chamberlain Road, Oak Ridge, NJ
  • Ralph Ackerson Park, Ridge Road Recreation Complex, 151 Ridge Rd, Oak Ridge, NJ
  •  Kennedy Field, 11 Apollo Drive, Oak Ridge, NJ
  • Johnson’s Pond Park, 237, Cozy Lake Road (at Notch Road), Oak Ridge, NJ
  •  Berkshire Valley Park, 5534 Berkshire Valley Road, Oak Ridge, NJ
  •  Legion Field, 28 Legion Road, Oak Ridge, NJ
  • Water’s Edge Tot lot, 17  Fox Chase Road, Oak Ridge, NJ

Municipal Complex:

  • Jefferson Township Creative Playground, 1033 Weldon Road, Oak Ridge, NJ
  • Bicentennial Veterans’ Memorial Park, 1033 Weldon Road, Oak RIdge, NJ
  • Jefferson Township Gazebo, 1033 Weldon Road, Oak Ridge, NJ

Jefferson’s parks, ballfields, and playgrounds are maintained by the Township of Jefferson’s Recreation Department under the supervision of John Burns, Director of Parks and Fields and his crew.  They work tirelessly to keep each facility in top-notch condition so everyone can safely enjoy them.

Be sure to check with the Recreation Department if you wish to reserve fields on any township owned facilities as well as most elementary school fields to determine if you need to file a facilities use application.  Remember that township sports leagues reserve fields for practices and games by filing facilities use applications through the Recreation Department so those permits take priority in use.  Contact Director of Recreation Grace Rhinesmith at 937-663-8404 for more information.

Most facilities have port-a-john units onsite, some have benches and/or picnic tables, and all are open from dawn until dusk.  The Lakeside Recreation Complex and the Camp Jefferson complex have covered pavilions.  There is no smoking, no alcohol, and no pets allowed on Township and Board of Education fields, playgrounds and parks.

If you have a dog, be sure to visit the new Dog Park located by the Creative Playground facility in the municipal complex and please clean up after your pet.

In addition, Jefferson’s elementary schools also have playgrounds with free access when school is closed for summer recess.

According to SafeKids Worldwide, with active supervision and some basic safety tips, every day at the playground or park can be safe and lots of fun.  But reality tells us that falls  are the most common type of park and playground injury, accounting for more than 75 percent of all playground-related injuries. Lack of or improper supervision is associated with approximately 45 percent of park/playground-related injuries.

Their tips for a safe playground experience no matter where you go:

  • Actively supervise children on playgrounds and in parks. It won’t be hard – they’ll probably be calling for you to watch them climb, jump and swing.
  • Take your kids to playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips or mulch. If your child falls, the landing will be more cushioned than on asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt.
  • Dress appropriately for the playground or park. Remove necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard. Even helmets can be dangerous on a playground, so save those for bikes.
  • Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground or in a park area can be dangerous.
  • Read more at https://www.safekids.org/playgroundsafety

*Camp Jefferson boasts a brightly colored and exciting playground that is open to all from dawn to dusk.  However, be aware that beginning on Monday, June 26 through Friday, August 18 (weekdays), the Jefferson Township Recreation Department operates a summer day camp onsite from 7 am to 6 pm so while only the playground is still open to the public, be aware that it is extremely active with campers and staff during camp operating hours.Just be aware that you and your children will be sharing the playground during those times, and also be aware that the public is absolutely not allowed on the rest of the Camp Jefferson property during summer day camp.

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Carol was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Jefferson Township with her husband in 1976. She initially joined the Garden Club of Milton, eventually serving as President. She was a co-founder of the ABC Mothers Group, active in the local PTAs, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts. She worked for AIM Newspapers as a reporter and eventually became its Editor. Currently, she is President of the Jefferson Arts Committee and the Recreation Program Coordinator in the Jefferson Township Recreation Department. She can be reached at carol.punturieri@thejeffersonchronicle.com.

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