The parks of Hudson County are urban oases, offering everything from spectacular city views to waterfront nature trails. In the summer months, the parks can be a great, green place to relax while soaking up some sun. Recently, many locals have taken this relaxation to new heights, a foot off of the ground, to be exact. Hammocks have sprung up between trees all over Hudson County, but if you plan on “hanging out” in the parks this summer, here’s what you should know.
^ Jersey City
What is Hammocking?
According to the Hudson County Parks Department, hammocking is a relatively new phenomenon. After 2020, when locals were unable to take advantage of their typical weekend haunts, it’s no wonder that outdoor endeavors grew even more popular each Saturday and Sunday. Officials and neighborhood residents alike have noticed an uptick in hammocking. Portable hammocks are easy to tote around and quick to assemble, so it makes sense that park-goers embraced the activity.
The portable contraptions seem to be an ideal place to kick back for a nap or some light reading, but don’t get too comfortable just yet. According to a Hudson County Parks Department representative, despite the frequent hammock sightings, this is not an approved activity at the nine parks in the county system.
If you’ve been able to set up your swing at one of these locales in the past, it’s likely that the existing regulations were not strictly enforced. City parks, such as Pier A in Hoboken, might follow different guidelines in some respects, but representatives for Hoboken’s recreation department confirmed that they are indeed aligned with the county’s stance on hammocks.
Know the Rules, and Leave no Trace
So, why is hammocking hard to approve? Portable hammocks have long been considered an environmentally friendly option for veteran campers. Those who are looking to “leave no trace” have even been known to tout hammocks, when properly used, as one of the best solutions when it comes to sleeping in the wilderness. Compared to tents or motorhomes, hammocks act as shelters that leave little to no footprint when ultimately removed from their temporary site.
However, if the device is not equipped with the proper straps, it can damage the bark or even break the limbs of the trees from which it is suspended. Improper use can also lead to significant injury for the person on the hammock.
Coupled with environmental factors are the logistical concerns. New Jersey has distinct rules in place that govern which spaces are allocated for use as campgrounds. Without such a classification, the county parks are technically unable to host hammock users, even if the visitors only intend to spend an afternoon swinging.
See More: 11 National Parks to Visit in New Jersey
If you were aiming to spend the summer relaxing outside, never fear, your plans don’t have to change drastically. All local parks will allow you to lounge on towels and blankets. If you’re in the mood to be a bit more active, be sure to take advantage of the quality tennis, bocce, football, and volleyball courts that Hudson County has to offer.
If hammocking or camping is still on the brain, New Jersey has designated campgrounds in various regions of the state that are open to enjoy. Whether you’d like to post up near the shore or in the shadow of NYC, there is an option for your outdoor excursion.