Gone are the heavy coats, sweaters, boots, hats, and scarves – it’s time to enjoy the warmth of the sun outdoors while keeping children engaged, active, and safe. How? Take them to one of Jefferson Township’s many parks and playgrounds, all of which have free access.

Jefferson South (Lake Hopatcong)

  • Children’s Park, 81 Schwarz Boulevard
  • East Shore Park, 82 East Shore Road
  • Lakeside Recreation Complex, 15 Swan Lane (Bowling Green Parkway/Route 15 South)
  • Prospect Point Park, 30 Florida Avenue
  • Firemen’s Field, 750 Route 15 South
  • Camp Jefferson, 81 Weldon Road – Camp Jefferson boasts an exciting, brightly colored playground open from dawn to dusk. Note that on weekdays from Wednesday, June 26, through Friday, August 23, visitors must stop in the Camp Jefferson office for a visitor’s pass before using the playground between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. as the Camp Jefferson Summer Day Camp will be very active with campers and staff.

Jefferson North (Oak Ridge)

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

Municipal Complex (1033 Weldon Road)

  • Jefferson Township Creative Playground
  • Bicentennial Veterans’ Memorial Park
  • Jefferson Township Gazebo

All facilities are open from dawn until dusk. Some have benches and/or picnic tables, and most have portable toilets. The Lakeside Recreation and Camp Jefferson complexes offer covered pavilions. Public tennis courts are available at Prospect Point Park and the Water’s Edge field complex.

In addition, Jefferson’s elementary schools have playgrounds with free access during the summer recess. Smoking, alcohol, and pets are strictly prohibited at all township and school fields, playgrounds, and parks. Dogs are welcome at the Dog Park in the municipal complex; owners are required to clean up after their pets.

Contact the Recreation Department (937-663-8404) to reserve fields at township-owned parks and most elementary schools. Some facilities require a permit, and priority is given to Jefferson sports leagues for practices and games. Parks, ball fields, and playgrounds are maintained by town employees.

Mahlon Dickerson Reservation

Morris County’s largest park is located in Jefferson (955 Weldon Road). It encompasses 3,346 acres of recreational areas and beautiful near-wilderness. Take a trail to the highest point in the county or to Headley Overlook. The reservation offers more than 20 miles of multi-use trails, camping, picnic areas, a ball field, and fire rings. To reserve a picnic shelter, call 973-326-7631 x1.

Mahlon Dickerson Ball Field Pavilion. (Photo: Carene Kratzel)

Playground Safety

According to the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide, falls account for more than 75% of all playground-related injuries, nearly half of which are associated with improper or no supervision. To maintain a safe experience:

  • Actively supervise children on playgrounds and in parks. It won’t be hard, as kids often call for adults to watch them climb, jump, and swing.
  • Choose playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips, or mulch. If a child falls, the landing will be more cushioned than on asphalt, concrete, grass, or dirt.
  • Dress appropriately. 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; save them for bikes.
  • Teach children that pushing, shoving, and crowding can be dangerous.
  • Read more at www.safekids.org/playgroundsafety.

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