On the 16th of last month I posted about my attempts to locate the Van Campen burial ground near the former site of Calno, New Jersey, and about the overgrown mess I found once I was successful. At the time I expressed disappointment with the National Park Service for not keeping the property cleared. I have since exchanged emails with Mr. John Wright, Park Archeologist and chief of Cultural Resources at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Mr. Wright was kind enough to fill me in on the situation with the burial ground, and I hope he won’t mind my repeating the outline of the tale here.
It turns out that the family burial grounds in the region were exempted from the federal land acquisition program back in the Tocks Island Dam days, and are still privately owned. The cemetery near Calno had been maintained for some time by Mr. Harold Van Campen and Ms. Jean Zipser, however it has fallen into neglect since their deaths. Mr. Wright has offered to pass along my report to members of the Van Campen family, and I in turn have offered to help them clear the property if they have a mind to do so. Mr. Wright did not mention who currently owns it, but it is probably a safe assumption that it is still in Van Campen family hands.
So there you have it: no government negligence; but just the perhaps-unavoidable decline of will over the years. This is, after all, the eventual fate of all old burial grounds. I do hope, though, that this one has a few more years left in it.