Manchester Township and our residents suffered a tragic loss this week. A 17-year old Manchester Township High School student drowned at a lake on the Heritage Mineral property.

In an effort to prevent future tragedies, the Township will be implementing the following strategy: Our police department will step up random patrols. We will reexamine our township ordinances to enhance trespass violations with fines up to $1,000; and we will implement a strict ‘no warning’ enforcement policy. In fact, those patrols started this weekend and we issued multiple trespass citations on multiple days. Our goal is to keep people out of the Heritage Minerals Tract for their own safety.

Heritage Minerals is an old mining site. The site consists of 7,000 acres that fronts on Route 70 between Lakehurst and Whiting. The land was mined so deeply that the bodies of water often referred to as ‘lakes’ are actually groundwater aquifers. After a few steps in the soft, unstable sand, the “shelf” drops off to 60 feet deep or more. The mineral water is cold and clear because it is not fed by any stream, but instead by an underground water source. The banks are unpredictable and dangerously unstable. In years past, it was a common occurrence for vehicles to get ‘stuck’ in the soft sand on the site. There have been serious ATV accidents, drownings, and sunken vehicles pulled from the site.

Coupled with those conditions, there is also a 45 acre site containing low-level radioactive tailings left from the original mining operations in the 1970s. Hovsons is in the process of bringing in heavy equipment to conduct clean-up operations on that 45-acre site. It is not a place for youngsters or adults to trespass. It can be dangerous.

Please spread the word: Trespassers will be fined to the full extent allowed by law.