A post on the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s website noted, “Due to the government shutdown in the State of New Jersey, all State Parks, Forests, Historic Sites, and Recreation Areas will be closed until further notice.” However, one state park was still open: Washington Rock State Park atop the Watchung Mountain in Green Brook.
The small parking lot was open and no signage regarding the closure of the property was visibly posted. Visitors were walking around the grounds and enjoying the thirty-mile panoramic view of the valley below.
Washington Rock is currently being managed by the Somerset County Park Commission which may be the reason why the park was open (The commission’s offices were closed on the day this article was written).
Many NJ residents visit Washington Rock around Independence Day because of its historical significance. General George Washington used it as a lookout point during the American Revolution. In June of 1777, the British army under General William Howe was moving toward Westfield. Washington was able to view their movements and instructed his troops to circle behind Howe’s troops and cut off their retreat.