ELIZABETH, NJ - After two New Jersey teenagers died falling through thin ice recently, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders issued a reminder to residents to keep off of the ice while visiting local parks. 

 “A coating of ice may appear inviting, but the fact is that no pond or lake in Union County has been declared safe for skating or other uses so far this winter,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.

According to officials, the UC Department of Parks and Recreation habitually inspects ice on bodies of water in County parks to establish whether it is thick enough to support skating and other activities. The department released these regulations for UC parks:

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Winter safety regulations in Union County parks include:

  • Skating, sledding, and walking on outdoor ice is prohibited unless the ice is declared to be in safe condition by the County of Union.
  • Downhill skiing is prohibited. Cross-country skiing is permitted in certain areas.
  • Sledding is permitted in Echo Lake Park and in other designated areas only. In addition, toboggans, bobsleds and other non-steerable devices are strongly discouraged for safety reasons. Sledding may be suspended in case of inadequate snow cover or severe ice.
  • Snowmobiles are prohibited.

“Winter weather has become less dependable than in years past, so outdoor activities that residents routinely enjoyed a generation ago are becoming less available,” said Mirabella. “If you’d like to skate, your best bet is to visit the County’s indoor skating rink at the Warinanco Sports Center in Roselle.

For additional information regarding winter activities, residents can call the Department of Parks and Recreation at (908) 527-4900 or visit their website www.ucnj.org/parks-recreation.