Boonton Gorge on the
Rockaway River should be one
of the most popular
whitewater in NJ.
It is less than 5 minutes off of a major highway, has
a large drainage, picks up very little "wood", and has about 3/4 of a
mile of consistant class III-IV whitewater in a pretty
basalt mini-gorge. The upper section is in a public park and wraps
around a parking area making it easy to do "shoulder shuttle" and run
repeated loops. On top of all of this, it sits in a great little town
with a variety of nearby services. Should anyone have trouble on the
river, there is a well devleoped trail system and numerous vehiclular
access points to ease rescue operations. Emergency phones have even
been installed at two locations. Unfortunately, despite all of
it's attributes, Boonton Gorge is not as frequently paddled as one
expect. Due to misinformation, some of which has been spread
by local officials, many have avoided it. (For a summary of recent events, click here)
It's time to clarify the
situation and set the record straight.
Paddling on the Rockaway River
through Boonton isn't illegal!
If you are approached by a police officer
is no Federal, State or Local (Boonton) law or ordinance which makes
paddling on the Rockaway River through Boonton illegal (Click here to search Boonton Municipal Ordinances).
is no Federal, State or Local law or ordinance which makes accessing
the river for the purpose of paddling, from public lands illegal.
- Grace Lord Park, which surrounds most of the Boonton Gorge
Section of the Rockaway River, is listed as public "Open Space".
- Grace Lord Park is also "Green Acres Project" land.
- The Rockaway River has historically been a thoroughfare
across Northern NJ. In fact the Morris Canal follows the Rockaway River
bed for much of it's route. This sets an historical precedent for the Rockaway River being a public right of way.
local officials implications to the contrary, there is no provision for
a mandatory $1000.00 fine for being "caught paddling" in the river. In addition to there being no local ordinance regarding paddling in Boonton;
- The highest fine that Boonton's Municipal Code allows for any single violation of it's ordinances is $1000.00 Article 3, 1-17.
- If the Town Council Sets a minimum fine, it cannot exceed $100.00 Article 3, 1-20 .
- Jersey City Water Works owns the reservoir and the land
surrounding it. They can, and most likely will, arrest you and fine you
for trespass if you paddle out onto the reservoir.
while paddling or preparing to paddle in Boonton, here's what to do.
(To see who HAS paddled it over the years, when they paddled it and at
or to add your information to the list, click here)