Crews Battling Wildfire Along Mullica River in South Jersey’s Wharton State Forest

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,727
2,578
Pestletown, N.J.
I wonder if this will make the Swamp Monster accessible again?

I really want to get down to Wharton this weekend and see if I can get some photos.
It probably will Ben but you might have an issue getting past the infamous West Mill Road gate. :mad:

Parking there and walking in and out to the monster would be about a 4 mile round trip. I can only imagine that the gate is open now for firefighter access but I'm sure that it will be re-locked as soon as possible. I still can't believe how the State went limp on that matter.
 

stiltzkin

Scout
Feb 8, 2022
78
114
Medford
I would like to get into this area this weekend as well for photos, but I'm not sure which approach would be best. I am limited to a 2WD vehicle with low clearance which really has no business on anything but pavement or the best sand roads.

I'm not opposed to hiking longer distances, though.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
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You can cross the bridge here if you don't want to cross the bridge at the church. Park in the triangle along the road.


If you do cross the bridge at the link look for the Wharton monument along the way on the right hand side. It is a rare one. I did not even know about it until recently. And make sure you go again next year during the lady slipper blooming time. Hundreds of them along the path that follows the river. And some on the other path.


We walked in from the church years ago and it is a long walk to the monster if anyone is not a long walker. It takes up quite a bit of your day.
 
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Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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We need Google to come through with new aerial photos of the area. That happened not long after the fire in the west plains a few years back.
 

Wildland937

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Aug 24, 2016
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New Germany
These were taken while doing a fire effects assessment
 

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Teegate

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Looks even more open than 2004 when I was first there. And certainly more than in the ensuing years after that.


03142004_09112010.jpg
 
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Teegate

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What is really interesting to me is that day when we were there a fire was raging nearby. 3/14/2004


fire_.jpg
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,727
2,578
Pestletown, N.J.
I would like to get into this area this weekend as well for photos, but I'm not sure which approach would be best. I am limited to a 2WD vehicle with low clearance which really has no business on anything but pavement or the best sand roads.

I'm not opposed to hiking longer distances, though.
You can try West Mill. The entrance is just south of Chew Road on the east side of 206. The gate location is approximate.
 

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stiltzkin

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Feb 8, 2022
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You can try West Mill. The entrance is just south of Chew Road on the east side of 206. The gate location is approximate.

Thanks, yeah I read through some old threads on here today regarding the situation with that gate and marked some waypoints that were mentioned. That's infuriating. I assume the state never pressed the issue and nobody brought a lawsuit over it, so it's still just status quo from ~2017? What a shame.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
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Pines; Bamber area
If anybody on this forum would like to ask the state what is the status on that petition to force Hammonton to open that West Mill road, please do so. If any of you seriously would consider asking, I can get you the particulars. You'd have to write them a letter and ask for a response.
 

stiltzkin

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Feb 8, 2022
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Medford
If anybody on this forum would like to ask the state what is the status on that petition to force Hammonton to open that West Mill road, please do so. If any of you seriously would consider asking, I can get you the particulars. You'd have to write them a letter and ask for a response.

Maybe a different approach would be contacting the state and not mentioning any knowledge of a pre-existing petition. Just calling and asking why there's a gate across the road on public land, in a place that's supposed to be open access to the public.

If I head down there myself, find that the gate is closed up and locked, and take some photos, I may give this a try. Who would be the right point of contact?
 
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manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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Maybe a different approach would be contacting the state and not mentioning any knowledge of a pre-existing petition. Just calling and asking why there's a gate across the road on public land, in a place that's supposed to be open access to the public.

If I head down there myself, find that the gate is closed up and locked, and take some photos, I may give this a try. Who would be the right point of contact?
There is a thread on here about that road.Apprently the owner got the city of Hammonton who claims they own the road to turn it over to him so he could gate it.The person who gated it runs Paradise lakes campground. The state owns the land but the town owns the road i guess.There has been hell raised over this in the past and so far nothing has happened because of it.This gate has basically turned that area into a wilderness.You can't come in from Pleasant Mills because the bridge has been out for twenty years and you can't come in from Rockwood without an amphibious assault vehicle.You can ride up the south side of Nescohague and then wade the creek to walk in not a fun thing to do in winter though.
 

stiltzkin

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Feb 8, 2022
78
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Medford
There is a thread on here about that road.Apprently the owner got the city of Hammonton who claims they own the road to turn it over to him so he could gate it.The person who gated it runs Paradise lakes campground. The state owns the land but the town owns the road i guess.There has been hell raised over this in the past and so far nothing has happened because of it.This gate has basically turned that area into a wilderness.You can't come in from Pleasant Mills because the bridge has been out for twenty years and you can't come in from Rockwood without an amphibious assault vehicle.You can ride up the south side of Nescohague and then wade the creek to walk in not a fun thing to do in winter though.

Yeah, I had read up on some of the history in previous threads. It was very frustrating to read through. It seems like what's needed is a legal review, maybe from a nonprofit with the right resources (if such a thing exists) or ideally an individual lawyer with a passion for public access and/or the local area.

The other option would be to just keep bothering the state about it until they provide at least some kind of response. At least in my mind, if multiple people are calling and/or writing letters about this, it may get more momentum than a petition.
 
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