By ERIN ROLL
A Wayne man died in a fall on Monday, June 26, while mountain biking in Mills Reservation.
Authorities say that Kerry Rivera, 49, and his brother were riding mountain bikes in the reservation around 9 a.m. Rivera is believed to have lost control of his bike near the cliff’s edge and fallen 20 feet onto a rocky ledge in a ravine overlooking Old Quarry Road.
Rivera’s brother called law enforcement and remained on the scene.
Rivera was a firefighter with the Paterson Fire Department.
On Tuesday, the department posted a tribute message to Rivera on its Facebook page.
“Kerry Rivera never wavered in his commitment to keeping our city safe, and since 2003 put himself between danger and the residents he bravely protected countless times,” the message said. “As proud as he was to serve as a member of the Paterson Firefighters Association, he was even prouder to be a husband and father to two beautiful children.
“As is the tradition in the fire service, his family is our family, and we will do all that we can to comfort them at this difficult time.”
Rivera is survived by his wife, Rena, and by their three children: Elijah, Ezra and Eden.
Friends of the Riveras set up a GoFundMe page on Tuesday to help the family with their expenses, located at gofundme.com/rest-in-peace-kerry-james-rivera. As of Wednesday morning, the fund had raised $6,062 of its $25,000 goal.
Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said in a statement, “While an investigation into the incident is ongoing it appears to have been an accident and no foul play is suspected at this time.”
The Newark Fire Division and EMS responded to the scene, while the Montclair and Cedar Grove police departments blocked off the road near the accident site. Rivera’s body was recovered at 11:25 a.m.
Mills Reservation is a 157-acre Essex County park situated on the town border between Montclair and Cedar Grove. The cliffs are on the southern edge of the reservation, overlooking Edgecliff Road, Old Quarry Road and Highland Avenue.
The cliffs include a scenic overlook known as Quarry Point, which has a view of the New York skyline.
The park contains several trails for jogging and walking, including four main blazed trails and numerous smaller side trails.
One of the trails, the blue-blazed Quarry Trail, goes directly along the edge of the cliffs in the woods before emerging onto Quarry Point. There is a curve in the trail that sits on the edge of the ravine.
County spokesman Anthony Puglisi said on Monday that mountain biking is not allowed in any of the county parks.
The Essex County code of ordinances contains this law on bicycles in recreation areas: “No person on County property shall ride a bicycle or other vehicle on any surface other than a paved vehicular road, or on a path designated for that purpose. A bicyclist is permitted to wheel or push a bicycle by hand over any grassy area or wooded trail or on any paved area reserved for pedestrian use.”