Monthly Archives for June 2021

Black Bear Safety Tips for Residents

Posted: June 17, 2021

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife is reminding the public of important safety tips to follow to reduce encounters with black bears.

Feeding bears deliberately or unintentionally by carelessly leaving out food or garbage can have serious consequences for residents and bears. Bears that learn to associate food with people can become a nuisance and are more likely to damage property or exhibit aggression. Intentional feeding of a bear is dangerous, illegal and carries a fine of up to $1,000.

Follow these tips to minimize encounters with bears:

  • Secure trash and eliminate obvious sources of food, such as pet food, easy-to-reach bird feeders, or food residue in barbecue grills.
  • Use certified bear-resistant garbage containers, if possible. Otherwise, store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and place them along the inside walls of a garage, the basement, a sturdy shed or other secure area where a bear is unlikely to see or smell it.
  • Wash garbage containers frequently with a disinfectant solution to remove odors. Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.
  • Avoid feeding birds when bears are active. If you choose to feed birds, do so during daylight hours only and bring feeders indoors at night. Suspend birdfeeders from a free-hanging wire, making sure they are at least 10 feet off the ground and away from branches a bear can climb on to access them. Clean up spilled seeds and shells daily.
  • Remove all uneaten food and food bowls used by pets fed outdoors.
  • Clean outdoor grills and utensils to remove food and grease residue. Store grills securely.
  • Do not place meat or any sweet foods in compost piles.
  • Remove fruit or nuts that fall from trees in your yard.
  • Install electric fencing to protect crops, beehives and livestock.

If you encounter a black bear while outdoors, follow these tips:

  • Remain calm and never run from a bear. Avoid direct eye contact, which a bear may perceive as a challenge. Back away slowly. A bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping sounds by snapping its jaws or swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Make sure the bear can easily escape.
  • If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. This is usually not a threatening behavior.
  • If a bear does not leave the area or advances toward you, make loud noises to scare it away by yelling, using a whistle, banging pots and pans or sounding an air horn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your heads. Move to a secure area, such as a vehicle or building.
  • If hiking in bear country, always make your presence known by talking loudly or clapping hands.
  • Families who live in areas frequented by black bears should have a “Bear Plan” in place for children, with an escape route and planned use of whistles and air horns.
  • Black bear attacks on humans are rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back.

A black bear passing through an area and not causing a problem should be left alone. People should leave the area and allow the bear to continue on its way. When frightened, bears may seek refuge by climbing trees. If the bear does go up a tree, clear the area and give the bear time to climb down and escape.

Report bear damage, nuisance behavior or aggressive bears to your local police department, the Wildlife Control Unit of the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 908.735.8793 or the DEP 24-hour Hotline at 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337).

Learn more about safely coexisting with New Jersey’s black bears

Update on Walking and Bike Trail/Pump Track

Posted: June 11, 2021

Vernon Bicycle Pump Track Enthusiasts: Please take this survey to provide input to the company that will be designing our new bicycle pump track. It wil be available until September 7, 2021.

The township mayor and council held a special virtual meeting on June 10, 2021 to discuss their plans for a walking and bike trail/pump track. View the YouTube video of the meeting.

View frequently asked questions  (updated June 25, 2021)

The mayor and council’s presentation consisted of three parts:

  • Part 1 was a review by the municipal engineer, Cory Stoner, of the overall municipal walking & biking trail/pump track complex that the mayor and council have planned. View part one , View part two , View part three , View part four 
  • Part 2 consisted of a review by the municipal planner, Jessica Caldwell, of a town center visual rendering of what our town center could possibly look like, if the municipal walking & biking trail/pump track complex proves to be the type of positive consumer magnet and economic development driver that these types of amenities have proven to be in other places throughout our nation. View presentation 
  • Part 3 consisted of a review by council member Andy Pitsker of the economic benefits, the construction costs, the maintenance costs, and the insurance cost related to this project. View presentation  (updated with slide 21 for calculation clarity based on FAQ questions)

Free Produce Pop-Up

Posted: June 7, 2021

Residents are invited to attend a fresh produce and food market on Friday, June 25, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the Sussex County Hunger Coalition and NJ Snap Ed, Vernon is hosting the free event at the Vernon Senior Center.

Our mission is to ensure our community has access to fresh healthy food and no one is going hungry.

Please bring your own bags.