News & Opinion | February 4, 2020 5:48 am

Exclusive NJ Golf Club Wants to Expand Into Bird Habitat in State Park

Bird lovers are protesting Liberty National's plan to expand into Liberty State Park

Exclusive NJ Golf Club Wants to Expand Into Bird Habitat in State Park
The 18th hole at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey. ( Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)

An exclusive New Jersey golf club that has hosted the game’s elite players in the past claims it is in danger of losing PGA Tour events unless it is allowed to expand into a migratory bird habitat that’s housed in a neighboring state park.

Understandably, birders in the Jersey City area are not at all pleased with Liberty National’s proposal to expand into 22 acres of land in Liberty State Park. The public land where the course wants to build three new holes is known as Caven Point, and its tall reeds and sandy beaches are home to species like the spotted sandpiper and American oystercatcher, according to The New York Times.

“To me, it’s really just an obscenity,” Rick Cordner, an avid birder and the treasurer of Friends of Liberty State Park, told The Times. “It breaks my heart to think there could be a bulldozer out there plowing it under for a golf course.”

In exchange for expanding into a portion of Caven Point, which environmentalists say would disrupt the migratory bird habitat, Liberty National would make other investments in the park such as ball fields and basketball courts.

“If we are not able to accommodate what these tournaments need, then they will simply go somewhere else that can,” said Liberty National spokesman Chris Donnelly.

A bill called the Liberty State Park Protection Act that would prevent private developers from disrupting the park’s public land has been reintroduced in the NJ state legislature after initially failing to gain support. A second vote is likely to come in the summer.

“If they could do it to Liberty State Park, no park is safe,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, the lead sponsor of the act.

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