The Future of Burlington Island

The Future of Burlington IslandBurlington Island NJ – Its name may sound like a brand of designer clothing, but Burlington Island NJ has recently seen its idyllic 396 acres, located on the Delaware River centrally between Bristol and Burlington, cut up rough with County planners and preservationists.

Amusements and Education 

Over the decades that the island’s future has been uncertain, numerous plans to maximize leisure usage have been mooted, from a boat-building school to a base for light shows beaming into the night skies.

Currently, plans for a water park and a zip line facility are gaining momentum, while other initiatives being championed include a destination resort for tourists interested in history as well as recreation. The latter proposes a celebration of the island’s Native American and Colonial periods, with a three-stage movement through the facility starting at a scholarly a re-creation of a Lenape – Delaware Indian – Village, through a performance amphitheater to a replica of a pioneer-era trading post. 

Commercial leisure usage of Burlington Island, NJ is nothing new; after two decades’ use as an informal picnicking and bathing area, the Island Beach Amusement Park was constructed in 1917. Patrons arrived on paddle-wheel boats, to enjoy – endure? – a teeth-rattling wooden roller coaster named The Greyhound. Within ten years or so, two separate fires had destroyed the infrastructure, 

Dredge Dumping 

Happily, one negative rumor concerning Burlington Island NJ has been proved false. Word had it that a for-profit company had leased the island from the city, and the Board of Island Managers, BOIM, for a ten-year span. Sentiment was running high that the dense woodlands would be denuded of trees to accommodate river sediment. 

BOIM member Murray Sonstein commented that a version of the rumor “… surfaces every few years. It’s false.”



While for-profit sludge dumping is no longer on the cards, it may be that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – in a move which seems entirely at variance with its name – is considering a proposal to designate at least part of the island as a sediment discharge for the Army Corps of Engineers. 

The Corps does indeed dredge sections of the river, deepening channels for various, usually commercial, reasons. When that sediment hardens, it can be sold to developers. In the intervening time, the dump takes on the barren, blighted appearance of a moonscape. Currently, when the Corps is actively involved in dredging for cargo vessel access, its spoil piles are all located on the Pennsylvania side of the river.

Given that option, perhaps a carefully-controlled leisure development would be the lesser of two evils, even for died-in-the-wool environmentalists.

Certainly, fee-paying visitors would ease the tax burden that’s currently levied on Burlington residents (the island is officially part of the city of Burlington), but developing the island while at the same time preserving its natural environment is imperative. For one thing, eagles nests on the island, and disturbing them is prohibited by federal law. It is, at least in part, this convoluted mass of competing imperatives which has held development at bay for so long.

Other Transport Burlington Island

If talk of paddle steamers and dredgers makes you yearn for an automotive adventure of your own, you’re invited to inspect the full inventory of new and certified used Kia cars and SUVs at Burlington Kia, a premier Kia dealer serving Burlington, Willingboro, Bristol and Mansfield New Jersey. The showrooms, at 7 West Route 130 South, Burlington, NJ 08016, trade from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Mondays through Fridays, and 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Saturdays (we’re closed on Sundays). For weekend family picnics, check out Burlington Kia’s surprisingly spacious Rio subcompact, or the larger Sorento five-door.

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