NORTH HALEDON — Petitions championed by the mayor of this borough to drum up support against a Virginia-based group that recently asked for a light-up star to be taken off a local mountain have racked up hundreds of signatures so far.

Mayor Randy George of North Haledon told NorthJersey.com the target is 1,000 signees or more as he plans to do "everything I can to harass" The Nature Conservancy, which has demanded that the star, a long-ago Boy Scout project, be removed from atop High Mountain, where the mayor said its reinstallation just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic made it a beacon of hope.

NorthJersey.com reported that an online petition launched by residents boasted more than 300 signatures as of Monday afternoon, and more signatures were being taken by hand at the local library, and borough hall.

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The Nature Conservancy argues that the star was a "temporary allowance," is a safety hazard to hikers, and negatively impacts plant and bird life, according to the report.

Mayor Christopher Vergano of Wayne, the township that owns most of High Mountain Park Preserve, has previously thrown his support behind his neighboring borough, but the Nature Conservancy said in the NorthJersey.com report that Wayne has nothing to do with the portion where the star is located.

George has called a meeting of borough residents and concerned citizens from other municipalities, to be held May 9 at Eastern Christian High School.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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NJ county fairs make a comeback: Check out the schedule for 2022

UPDATED 4/10: A current list of county fairs happening across the Garden State for 2022. From rides, food, animals, and hot air balloons, each county fair has something unique to offer.

(Fairs are listed in geographical order from South NJ to North NJ)

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

Every NJ city and town's municipal tax bill, ranked

A little less than 30 cents of every $1 in property taxes charged in New Jersey support municipal services provided by cities, towns, townships, boroughs and villages. Statewide, the average municipal-only tax bill in 2021 was $2,725, but that varied widely from more than $13,000 in Tavistock to nothing in three townships. In addition to $9.22 billion in municipal purpose taxes, special taxing districts that in some places provide municipal services such as fire protection, garbage collection or economic development levied $323.8 million in 2021.