As reported by The Star-Ledger, Gneiding has the good fortune of living adjacent to scenic Round Valley State Park, home to the Round Valley Reservoir, the Garden State's deepest lake and a summertime hotspot for swimming, boating and fishing. Gneiding, who has lived in her Clinton Township log home with her husband since 1987, describes her bucolic living situation: "We’re surrounded on three sides by woods with the state park as our ‘backyard.’ We love being in the midst of nature."
However, Gneiding has the distinct misfortune of living in a home that’s been identified as the entrance to Round Valley State Park itself by Google Maps. Yep, that’s right … when users search for "Round Valley Reservoir," Google Maps directs them to Gneiding’s private driveway. And with the swimming/boating/camping/hiking season in full-swing, Gneiding’s home has naturally become a magnet for hordes of disoriented — and sometimes disgruntled — outdoor enthusiasts desperately looking to access the park.
This is the third consecutive summer that Gneiding’s property has been transformed into a parking lot for lost, boat- and bike-hauling motorists. After several “No Trespassing” and “Private Drive” signs that Gneiding erected around her property last summer didn’t seem to do the trick — “many people chose to ignore them and come up anyway," she explains — she resorted to installing a $125 orange traffic barricade with signs reading “No Park Access” and “Private Driveway/Private Residence.” Fearing the worst, Gneiding also put out an additional sign at the bottom of her driveway over the Fourth of July weekend that reads: “NOT Park Entrance... Private Driveway... Google Maps is wrong!"
Says Gneiding: "My biggest fear is coming home someday and having ‘visitors’ in my backyard pool or something happening to my dogs when they’re in their outside pen."
Apparently, until a kindly motorist fingered Google Maps as the culprit this past May, Gneiding was clueless as to why all the endless parade of Subaru Outbacks with bike racks had been inundating her driveway for the past three years.
After several attempts to reach out to Google to remedy the situation, the search engine giant is now on the case — the nagging from the Star-Ledger's Bamboozled consumer affairs columnist Karin Price Mueller certainly got things moving — and has promised to fix the grief-causing glitch. Still, I don't think this beleaguered homeowner's unique "people think my driveway is a state park entrance because of Google Maps" problem will disappear anytime soon. Maybe Gneiding should just invest in a brown khaki get-up, set up a stand at the end of her driveway, and start charging $10 a head for park admission ... you know, make a few bucks off of her misfortune while it lasts.