A Burlco town recently banned paintball, dirt bikes, ATVs and hunting at the Dunes, a popular Delaware River hang-out and the subject of a court battle.
Paintball enthusiasts, linked by cellphone, Facebook and other social media, had been converging on the 35-acre Delanco site for big competitions, said Mayor Marlene Jass. In the middle, the town's leaf compost piles became bunkers for guys in camoflauge, while towering trees provided them with perfect cover.
"The paintballers came here from three states," she said.
Worried about accidents and liability, Delanco created nature trails and posted rules and regulations to keep everyone but hikers out. But on May 4, the day before the ribbon-cutting of the park, the state Department of Environmental Protection took Delanco to court.
Now, DEP wants hiking banned too. The area has been designated as a dump for river dredge spoils.
Superior Court Judge Karen L. Suter ruled that the land can be used as trails - for now. She will hold another hearing June 1.
Jass said the DEP's plans will destroy the sanctuary and solace that town officials have created on the parcel. Before this, she said, people would use the land to hunt with bows and arrows; ride motorcycles, dirt bikes, and ATVs, and just party. Now, she said, police have the authority to go in and enforce the regulations.