DEP ANNOUNCES VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING TO LAUNCH WHARTON STATE FOREST VISITOR AND VEHICLE USE SURVEY

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,116
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Pines; Bamber area
Here are the full comments I helped put together for Pinelands Alliance alongside folks from NJ Conservation Foundation for the recent survey. I think they mirror most of the approaches suggested here. We may have specific differences in specific areas, you are free to review the comments and linked files and we can discuss.
I have your map open on Google Earth. I see you've already capitulated on West Mill Road. The battle over opening that road is ongoing. My stance is; force Hammonton somehow to open that gate. We want to drive on that road.
 
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bobpbx

Piney
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Oct 25, 2002
13,116
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Pines; Bamber area

West Wading River Natural Area incl Frank's ford sectiom​

name: West Wading River Natural Area incl Frank's ford sectiom
description: empty

What are you saying here? Are you trying to keep people from driving that sand road next to the wading, and the other one in the area? That road next to the Wading is older than dirt, and should be kept open.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,116
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Pines; Bamber area
What about this sw of Atsion Lake? Who are you blaming here, the DEP? That's not a cool way to make a statement. What are you saying to them; close the area to vehicles?

Illegal Roads due to forestry project mismanagement​

name: Illegal Roads due to forestry project mismanagement
description: empty
 

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,706
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Isn't this canceled?

This is what I get at @noboat 's link now...


Screen Shot 2023-01-10 at 7.03.43 PM.png
 
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bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,116
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Pines; Bamber area
Where you call for barricading areas where people have gone to the sandy areas along the Mullica on the SE side -- that could be alleviated differently with signs indicating day use only, no over nighters and no parking closer than 100 feet from the river, or some such.

But look, I understand where you and Emile and Russ and Carlton are coming from, and why you believe what you do is right and defensible. As strict environmentalists you have a different outlook on use of the forest than I do, and many on this board do. We will never see eye to eye, and I will not get behind closing areas to vehicles, even though I may agree in come cases, because once you start, you can't reverse, and acre by acre, and road by road, the forest will not look the same to us, and we will lose a seriously important cultural heritage we currently enjoy. Get in your truck and drive, stay on the roads, don't go in wet lands, and don't use the forest as proving grounds for your monster truck. It's not hard to abide by that, I can live with it, and I don't want to give it up. Not at all.
 

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
229
295
Medford
Let's just be clear, the Parks Department and maybe NJDEP are clueless when it comes to communications. They floated a general idea without any specifics, leading people to conclude a worst-case scenario. I among others warned them about much of what has been discussed as downsides on this thread, but I can't help people that don't want to be helped! I also suggested a model that Michigan uses that I think could be supportable because it is cheap, does not create a special user class, and supports park funding state wide. I have no inside knowledge about how they are specifically thinking about that vague permit idea at this point or if it will even happen at all.

Just to refresh, this is the wording that was used in the first press release, last August:

In considering the future of Wharton State Forest, the State Park Service will develop a permit system for use of unimproved roads throughout the forest, modeled after the Department’s experience implementing the Mobile Sport Fishing Vehicle Permit system at Island Beach State Park. Permits would be issued for vehicle use of designated safe and legal routes identified through input received from the visitor use survey and future stakeholder meetings through early 2023. The development of a permit system will enhance the State Park Police’s ability to assess vehicle use and protect sensitive resources throughout the forest.

This very much read to me as if the permit system is a foregone conclusion ("the State Park Service will develop a permit system" - emphasis mine) and that the purpose of the survey is not to discuss whether such a system will be implemented, but rather which roads will be in-scope for such permitting. Presumably anything not in scope for permitting would cease to be legal to drive on.

I appreciate your reply. I will have a look at the video you linked in order to better understand your specific positions.
 

Jason Howell

Explorer
Nov 23, 2009
132
53
What about this sw of Atsion Lake? Who are you blaming here, the DEP? That's not a cool way to make a statement. What are you saying to them; close the area to vehicles?

Illegal Roads due to forestry project mismanagement​

name: Illegal Roads due to forestry project mismanagement
description: empty
That area specifically was a forestry project in the 90s that created a path into a spung. The spung was subsequently torn up by ORVs and is still getting worse because parks staff in Trenton refused an offer to install vehicle barriers.


The text comments on the public file are pretty thin, T&E info was submitted directly to NJDEP.
 

Piney4life

Explorer
Oct 8, 2015
369
107
50
Waterford
That area specifically was a forestry project in the 90s that created a path into a spung. The spung was subsequently torn up by ORVs and is still getting worse because parks staff in Trenton refused an offer to install vehicle barriers.


The text comments on the public file are pretty thin, T&E info was submitted directly to NJDEP.
That road is visible in 1965. so was not created by forestry project in the 90s.
 
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Boyd

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Jul 31, 2004
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
I was thinking that this might be a CYA move on the part of the person who "organized" this. Announce it on Facebook where it gets lots of exposure and people start making plans to attend, then "cancel" it (wink-wink) so he can say that whatever happens isn't his fault.
 

auto

New Member
Feb 14, 2014
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I was out at Oswago lake doing a trash clean up with my MC club today. A boat load of 4X4 vehicles went down Oswago road heading up Sooy Rd. Yes this event should of had to get a permit like our club is required to get in order to put on our enduro. Probably most of the beer cans I picked up were from them.
 
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TommyP

Explorer
Mar 30, 2022
126
107
Clementon
thomaspluck.substack.com
I went on a nice trail ride with about 20 drivers from Atsion to Quaker Bridge, down Goodwater to Washington Turnpike, then back via Penn Swamp Road. No one went off the roads, and the park police were at Atsion when we left. I saw a few dirt bikes with license plates on the ride. No one broke the law. We use radios to warn of hikers and bicyclists crossing the trail. We even picked up trash. These events would not be feasible with a permit system unless you can buy a permit at Atsion on the weekends at 8am.
Wash Pike looked really chewed up around there, so I'll hazard a guess some truckers were behaving badly at some point.

An event with 300 vehicles seems very difficult to manage, where would you even stage? I'm glad it got canceled, because it seems like a nightmare for anyone else trying to use the roads they'd be taking. I don't want permits, but I've seen more Park police at Wharton and Byrne lately, and I'm thankful for that.
 
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woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,309
293
Near Mt. Misery
I don’t know if this has been posted before. This is a pinelands commission meeting from three years ago that includes an excellent presentation from John Bunnell concerning ORV damage in wetlands/spungs. The presentation itself is free from opinions and political agenda which is refreshing. I recommend checking it out. I am going to copy and paste. Hopefully that works. The presentation starts at about 28 minutes.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,116
3,341
Pines; Bamber area
I don’t know if this has been posted before. This is a pinelands commission meeting from three years ago that includes an excellent presentation from John Bunnell concerning ORV damage in wetlands/spungs. The presentation itself is free from opinions and political agenda which is refreshing. I recommend checking it out. I am going to copy and paste. Hopefully that works. The presentation starts at about 28 minutes.
I did some of the survey work. I did 32 ponds, and I see he highlights one of them with photos. Important to note that only a small percentage of the total (<3%) were in parks and forestry. There is not a single member of this web site who likes to see damage to any of these ponds, and I dare say none of us would mind if access with a vehicle into the pond were blocked. But they don't need to block the road in unless it's very short anyway and has no connecting roads that lead elsewhere.
 

Teegate

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Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
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Those ponds are there to enjoy responsibly. No need to block access to the pond if it is already there. Everyone just keep your vehicles the hell out of them. It can't be any simpler than that.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,116
3,341
Pines; Bamber area
Those ponds are there to enjoy responsibly. No need to block access to the pond if it is already there. Everyone just keep your vehicles the hell out of them. It can't be any simpler than that.
There are law abiders, and there are scofflaws. Many of those who become tempted seeing the pond would think twice seeing those barricades. They work, so I support them.
 

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
229
295
Medford
I will certainly support demarcating and/or barricading ponds, spungs, fields, wetlands...anything that is plainly not part of any road. Those areas are no place for vehicles. Step up enforcement and bring heavy penalties on those who continue to ignore such barricades.
 
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