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

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,679
6,982
It will never be over when we have groups nagging the DEP to death either by their public comments or directly.
 

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
220
284
Medford
Hey if Hammonton owns a road in the state forest and can give it to a private individual does this mean that the roads in Wharton are owned by the respective townships and not the forest? Perhaps the state forest does not have authority to close township owned roads?

I would love to see this tested legally.
 

auto

New Member
Feb 14, 2014
15
10
67
Its time for Ed Durr to earn his keep. Not exactly his district but hes a red represenitive that might fight for us. Shoot him a email and see where it goes.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,102
3,325
Pines; Bamber area
This is a terribly written article. "Birders and others who don't use vehicles in the parks..." Yeah, they walk in from the highway, I am sure.

The article they cribbed from at the NJ DEP site is here. But the details are the same. Unless we speak up, permits are coming.

Here is the link to register for the mapping meeting. It looks like all you can do is give an email address to be notified about it, at this time:
http://njparksandforests.org/wharton/
I agree Tommy. And this statement rankles me too: "One such map in 2015 restricted the area open to vehicles but it was quickly withdrawn after what critics said was a storm of protest from the off-road lobby to the Christie administration".

What propaganda that is. Lies, as if there is no middle ground people like us complaining.
 
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Apr 6, 2004
3,382
371
Galloway
Methinks this is a wonderful idea. Foist another tax on NJ residents all while ensuring further revenue by having Park Police write tickets for people that were otherwise driving the roads responsibly. This will certainly fix the ORV abuse problem.

Right?
 
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imkms

Explorer
Feb 18, 2008
543
171
SJ and SW FL
It’s been many years since I last got a permit to drive on the beach at LBI, so things could have changed (doubtful). But if a Wharton permit system is to be based on that model, then we can expect a yearly, expensive permit with only a limited number of permits to be issued yearly.
 

TommyP

Explorer
Mar 30, 2022
125
103
Clementon
thomaspluck.substack.com
The Pinelands Alliance sent out an email to members today with instructions to be at the meeting. We need to be there unless we want their voice to be the only one and the loudest. I am not "the offroad lobby" I am a citizen who is concerned with the environment, who wants to stop the roads from being turned into mud holes, but also wants access to this land for everyone who follows the law.

These are their instructions on how to join the meeting:

How to Sign Up for the 9/27 Meeting:


In order to participate you need to register here: http://njparksandforests.org/wharton/


When you click Register or the link under Get Involved you will be taken to the DEP’s email sign up page. Enter your email address and confirm it. You will be prompted to create a password. This allows you to adjust your preferences for email any time you wish. But this is optional and will not prevent you from signing up. After agreeing to the privacy policy and hitting submit you will get the following message:


Success
[Your Email] has been successfully subscribed to Wharton State Forest Visitor & Vehicle Use for New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.



When you hit the Finish button you are taken to a page that will allow you to choose other informational topics. Choose as many or as few as you like.
 
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SuperChooch

Explorer
Aug 26, 2011
382
401
46
I think the most important thing we can do right now is to get as many people as possible involved in the stakeholder process. We may feel it will be difficult to influence the process, however, if we don’t get involved in this stakholder process than it will be impossible to influence it. The same info for joining meeting is posted on the OTNJ FB page and website:



Please share this meeting sign up info far and wide.
 

bicycle tim

Scout
Jun 9, 2018
56
55
tabernacle, nj
I also suggest that everyone strongly consider getting involved in the stakeholder process. That being said, I have a question that I believe is important, and simultaneously frustrating, in that I can't find a relevant answer. My question, which I hope does not portray my lack of knowledge, is: What is the role of the Pinelands Commission as opposed to the role of the DEP with respect to regulating recreation (hunting, fishing, boating, driving, hiking, etc.) in the Pine Barrens? Does the DEP report and answer to the Pinelands Commission or is the Pinelands Commission subservient to the DEP? With two days of rain and a case of Covid I've had time to read the Federal and New Jersey legislation from 1979 that created the Pinelands Preserve and the Pinelands Commission. I've also read the relevant legislative committee reports, Governor Byrne's Executive Order 71, and the Commission's Comprehensive Management Plan. (For those of you suffering from insomnia I recommend reading those documents as a likely cure.) In reading those documents, assuming I haven't lost all my intellectual capacity, it seems the Pinelands Commission rather than the DEP has the legal authority to regulate recreational activities in the Pine Barrens. If the Pinelands Commission were conducting this survey I could understand but I don't see where the DEP has the statutory legal authority to do so. Thus my question, what are the respective roles of the Pinelands Commission and New Jersey DEP in regulating recreation in the Pine Barrens? Any help would be much appreciated.
 
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Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,679
6,982
All,

It is important to sign up and get your email in. I suspect they will be using zoom so if you don't have it installed now is the time to do so. Also, if you know a group of individuals who are interested but are not virtual savvy, you may want to think about having a group over to your place and watching with them. Is's a possibility that there may be viewing parties so keep a watch out for that and think about attending if it does happen.

And for those of you who want or think a permit system will solve everything, you may want to consider that the reason for permits is so they can be revoked. Once their foot is in the door they will always want more.

Update: It appears it may we a web based event. I missed that on my first read.
 
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Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,679
6,982
So what is everyones opinion of this text in on the DEP website? Is this maybe zoom or teams or web based?? Do you think it is Zoom or Teams?

The Sept. 27 meeting will demonstrate for participants a new web-based survey and mapping tool where park users will answer questions about their favorite recreational activities in Wharton State Forest, such as fishing, hiking, boating and scenic driving, among others.
 

smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,288
744
Atco, NJ
So what is everyones opinion of this text in on the DEP website? Is this maybe zoom or teams or web based?? Do you think it is Zoom or Teams?

The Sept. 27 meeting will demonstrate for participants a new web-based survey and mapping tool where park users will answer questions about their favorite recreational activities in Wharton State Forest, such as fishing, hiking, boating and scenic driving, among others.
Sounds like nothing more then a survey. That will be all our input will be
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,679
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enormiss

Explorer
Aug 18, 2015
446
257
Atco NJ
Got this in an e-mail, thinking someone from DEP will be there?

Join us September 24, 2022
for National Public Lands Day (NPLD)
on the Wharton State Forest (WSF).​

NPLD is the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. Established in 1994 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, this celebration brings out thousands of volunteers to help restore and improve public lands around the country.


For NPLD 2022, we will be working to help the forest recover by remediating several areas degraded by off-road vehicle activity.

  • 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Quakerbridge
    Meet at the Atsion Office parking lot where we will car pool to the areas we will be working.
  • 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. - Whispering Pines
    Meet at the Whispering Pines parking lot (Patty Bowker Road and Burlington County Road 532, Tabernacle Township) where we will car pool to the area we will be working.
 
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Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,679
6,982
It is funny that they are remediating off-road vehicle damage at what they now call the Whispering Pines area, when the state has ruined that area by trucking in tons of stones.

This was a really nice sandy Irick's Causeway intersection until it was ruined.

DSC_2793a.jpg
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,679
6,982
I suspect that this bog is the target point for the remediation but I may be wrong.


It is unfortunate that those attending will not be driven over the stones in my photo. If I was involved with that and saw those stones I would jump off and walk back to my vehicle. The off-road individuals who damaged that area should be ashamed for their actions, however, their damage will eventually recover and already is starting to. But the stones will be there for generations to come and that intersection and even the road in will always look like shit. That was clearly under the DEP's watch.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,679
6,982
If anyone finds out where the remediation actually occurred let us know.
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,309
292
Near Mt. Misery
I also suggest that everyone strongly consider getting involved in the stakeholder process. That being said, I have a question that I believe is important, and simultaneously frustrating, in that I can't find a relevant answer. My question, which I hope does not portray my lack of knowledge, is: What is the role of the Pinelands Commission as opposed to the role of the DEP with respect to regulating recreation (hunting, fishing, boating, driving, hiking, etc.) in the Pine Barrens? Does the DEP report and answer to the Pinelands Commission or is the Pinelands Commission subservient to the DEP? With two days of rain and a case of Covid I've had time to read the Federal and New Jersey legislation from 1979 that created the Pinelands Preserve and the Pinelands Commission. I've also read the relevant legislative committee reports, Governor Byrne's Executive Order 71, and the Commission's Comprehensive Management Plan. (For those of you suffering from insomnia I recommend reading those documents as a likely cure.) In reading those documents, assuming I haven't lost all my intellectual capacity, it seems the Pinelands Commission rather than the DEP has the legal authority to regulate recreational activities in the Pine Barrens. If the Pinelands Commission were conducting this survey I could understand but I don't see where the DEP has the statutory legal authority to do so. Thus my question, what are the respective roles of the Pinelands Commission and New Jersey DEP in regulating recreation in the Pine Barrens? Any help would be much appreciated.
Great question. Even the commission itself describes the division of authority and responsibility as “complex”. It would appear that there are grey areas in there that might confuse the respective departments themselves. As the commission is focused solely on the CPMP it would be a logical assumption that as long as the DEP initiative does not threaten the CPMP then the DEP has the ability to do what they want. That being said, it could be argued that the implementation of restrictions on the general public to access the region has repercussions to the the cultural integrity of the region. But, that’s a point of conjecture.
 
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Scroggy

New Member
Jul 5, 2022
10
16
Delaware
To revert to manumuskin's question, I, too, have been wondering about the DEP's authority to close these roads. There is relatively recent (2015) New Jersey case law establishing that "by-roads" are still recognized in New Jersey. A private road that has been used, uninterruptedly, by the public for twenty years, without permission of the landowner, is presumed to have been "dedicated" for public use and thereby becomes a by-road even if the dedication has not been accepted by a public entity.

Barile v. Port Republic made it clear that the public right of passage along a road can't be extinguished by an administrative act of a municipality (which may, or may not, be obliged to maintain it). Once right of passage has been established, it can only be abolished by the passage of a municipal ordinance vacating the road, promulgated with due notice and hearings, etc.

Now, for things like plowed firebreaks and so on, I feel like it would be difficult to establish the twenty years of public use, and the DEP would probably be able to show that they'd taken action to interfere with public use (rebutting the presumption this this was a public road). But I'm at a loss to explain how the DEP could have authority to unilaterally close, say, a part of the Tuckerton Road, without the municipality vacating it. The fact that it lies across their lands is immaterial; the public's right to that road was already established when the Wharton Estate conveyed it to them.
 
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