WEST MILFORD, N.J. – A swath of land in West Milford where lions, giraffes, baboons and other exotic wildlife once roamed could soon be home to New Jersey’s first park for mountain bikers.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Parks and Forestry is seeking bids from private operators to help turn the 800-acre former Jungle Habitat site into a revenue-generator for the state.
From 1972-76, the property, then owned by Warner Bros., drew hundreds of thousands of visitors with its drive-through wild safari and theme park. The site also contained a dolphin pool and theme rides.
The state has owned the property, immediately west of Long Pond Ironworks State Park, since 1998. The buildings, rides and facilities are gone or in ruins, but the site has about 11 miles of single-track trails “that are ideal for bicyclists and pedestrians,” according to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“As a mountain bike park, the Jungle Habitat site has the potential to allow visitors to tap into nostalgia and a unique piece of New Jersey history while enjoying healthy outdoors recreation,” the DEP stated in a press release .
The state is seeking bids for a private operator to manage the park and provide services to generate revenue for the state park system. Bidders are being asked to consider minor site improvements like expanding trails, rehabilitating the parking area and access road and installing semi-permanent restroom facilities. Bids are due by Nov. 15.
For more information, visit the DEP website .