Development will make Sandy Hook an elite enclave

The entire scenario surrounding the proposed plan for Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit, is totally suspicious to me.

I believe that the ultimate goal of the National Park Service (NPS) is to divest itself of this property at a huge profit to private developers. This is a tiny national park that just happens to have magnificent oceanfront and riverfront land that overlooks New York City, which is just 22 miles across the water. Can you imagine what the value would be to the elite, monied Wall Streeters (or any other super rich clientele) to own this real estate?

Why can’t it be left for its intended purpose – the recreational use of the public? Why should the public allow the NPS to lose our incredibly soul-pleasing national park to a corporate/business park?

I think that once lost to the public, it will become an extremely exclusive enclave for the extremely wealthy. The ordinary citizen will be excluded from this oasis of peace and serenity in New Jersey. This land was set aside for the public because of its unique situation and the desire for it to be in the public (not private) domain.

An Act of Congress set this land aside as a national park. The National Park Service has neglected it rather than act as its steward. The NPS does not own the park, the public does. Perhaps the public needs to fire the steward.

Tied to this scenario is the proposed replacement of the Highlands-Sea Bright bridge with a 65- to 70-foot-high bridge that, in my estimation, is a very dangerous height in this environment, especially in the winter.

The approaches and related road building would enhance development on Sandy Hook. Gee, isn’t that convenient. This would seem to fly in the face of the endangered species and environmental issues.

The bridge forms a part of the scenic view of the Twin Lights lighthouse. If the bridge is not repairable, why not replace it with a copy of the original? If some folks are dismayed with having to wait for a sailboat to go through the drawbridge in the summer, perhaps the ire should be directed to the sailboat owners rather than the bridge. Make the sailboats conform to the height of the bridge, or moor at another marina where they are not the cause of such friction. I, personally, find waiting for a sailboat to regally glide by a thing of beauty. The few minutes of wait are a pleasant opportunity to enjoy the scenery.

There is, in Federal District Court in Trenton, a lawsuit involving the proposed developer of buildings at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook. It appears to me that the National Park Service is trying an unconscionable, backdoor approach to forcing the developer on the public. The questions that come to mind are: What is really going on?; Why is this being allowed to proceed?; Who has what on whom?; Who stands to make the really big money from Sandy Hook being commercially developed?

This is a serious inroad to the national park system. If this NPS plan is successful, it will be the trendsetter for other national parks. We, the public, stand to lose a tremendous asset here to greed. Where will it go next?

Is this a case of damn the public, full speed ahead for the developers?

Patricia A. Stilwell

Fair Haven