DEP Announces Virtual Public Meeting to Launch Wharton State Forest Visitor and Vehicle Use Survey

Ben Ruset

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Jason, if you're referring to this resolution, the map that was adopted was a composite of 71, 82, 95, and 97 USGS topo maps, not 54-59. Or is this something different? If not, is there a copy of the Pinelands Commission USGS composite map?

Second of all, what exactly are you trying to say about Bill? Are you trying to say that OTNJ is backed/controlled by multiple fossil fuel interests, warehouse developers, water extraction corporations, etc.? I'm a member and I sure the hell am not involved with anything like that. I linked to your own Facebook post where you doxxed the guy, so I'm hardly opaque here. You sound like you're making an accusation so just come out and say it.

Nobody is against a visitor map. Like, something that you can pop into the Batsto/Atsion ranger stations and pick up and unfold in your car. What we have problems with are the closures that have been proposed. This is the same exact position that all of us took in 2015. There's nothing wrong with a map (lower case). It's a gross mischaracterization to say that we don't want it. I could also say that the PPA wants to keep everyone out of the forest if we're going to play that game.

What is wrong are the seemingly capricious nature of the closures and the PPA's gatekeeping - "That being said, there may be routes that the conservation organizations can support being added" - like, who are you guys to act like you're the final arbiter of this process? Is it any wonder that SO MANY user groups - even ones that don't have a so-called corporate lobbyist involved - are against this? Do you guys have any self awareness at all?
 

Scroggy

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Jul 5, 2022
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Delaware
Jason, I don't quite follow your point here. You seem (I don't want to put words into your mouth) to be implying one or both of the following:
  1. Bill has lobbied for fossil fuel companies, developers, etc., so when he opposes the MAP, he's doing so on their behalf. But this is classic ad hominem (before every paste-eater on the Internet picked up the term). You haven't identified any plausible mechanism wherein people driving down a firebreak causes a warehouse to suddenly pop up in the Pines.
  2. Bill can tap into giant sinister corporate resources to organize his movement, and if it weren't for his "propaganda" to "divide the conservation community" (I quote from your Facebook post) everyone would basically coalesce behind the MAP. I do not believe this is true. I lurked here for 20 years before I registered this account, and the question of how to deal with off-roading/motorized access has been a contentious topic for more or less the entire time. Here is a 2011 thread on the topic, and I'm sure there were more on the old forums. (And documentation that this was contentious in 1980.)
I think that 2011 thread is very much worth reviewing for newcomers--both for comments and people making them. At that time, we were still able to have pretty reasonable and thoughtful conversations about the ORVing issue and deciding how to close roads, and there was something like a consensus that we could use more enforcement in existing closed areas, and that the Park Police loudly making an example of some people would be salutary. Well, here we are in 2024, enforcement remains (per Russ) rather half-hearted, and thoughtfulness has been replaced by intransigence. I'm not convinced that getting this through was worth the long-term social damage, but I suppose opinions will vary.
 

Boyd

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Jason, if you're referring to this resolution, the map that was adopted was a composite of 71, 82, 95, and 97 USGS topo maps, not 54-59. Or is this something different? If not, is there a copy of the Pinelands Commission USGS composite map?

According to our earlier discussion, this is the composite map, available from the commission website.

https://www.nj.gov/pinelands/home/m...general boundary 1997 USGS topoquads11x17.pdf

Screen Shot 2024-02-02 at 5.00.47 AM.png
 

Jason Howell

Explorer
Nov 23, 2009
151
55

From personal communications with Roger Barlow of the USGS, the later maps (publication ending in 1997) were photo revisions for structures only , not field observation.

Field observation for occurred in the mid 1950s by employees on bicycles going throughout SJ. Meaning the route information is from the mid 50s
 
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Piney4life

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Oct 8, 2015
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Waterford
I could probably fill you in atleast on some of those Tulp paths, if you are not fully aware of what’s going on out there.

But in any case, I understand not everyone here can follow these things as closely as I am able to. In 2017, I helped Pinelands advocates propose and pass a resolution to ADOPT the 1954-1959 usgs 24k map route data, map publications that ended in 1997, at the Pinelands Commission. We were opposed by the OTNJ group, lead by a corporate lobbyist (Ben neglected to share the elec lobbyist forms connecting this person to multiple fossil fuel interests, warehouse developers, water extraction corporations, etc.) despite that opposition, the measure passed unanimously at the Commission and it was adopted into the CMP(comprehensive management plan)

That resolution required that the NJDEP create a map of Wharton to conform with the CMP, in accordance with state and federal regulations. That resolution provides a maximum, not a minimum, amount of potential routes. Now we are here, and in so far as I can tell the organized opposition is again staying No Visitor Map, even though the DEP is legally required to create one. The reason I’m even posting here is because despite some trolling, there are respectable and knowledgeable people that post and read here.

That being said, there may be routes that the conservation organizations can support being added on to this visitor map in our comments to the Park Service, but you’ll have to speak up with specifics if you want them to be considered on this side of the isle.
Wrong you and ppa wanted 2001 version of usgs only after otnj contacted usgs did we all find out that 1997 was the last accurate printing of wharton . Only troll here is you and the organization you work for.as what I see with the new map dep and ppa wants is forcing people to use the for profit livery business ppa owns...no place to leave a personal vehicle at launch points.
 

bobpbx

Piney
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Oct 25, 2002
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Boyd, on that amalgamated topo you posted, many trails created by some method and used over the years are not shown. That's why the DEP took the position that they should not be there at all. And some biologists and scientists (both state and private), who study the flora and fauna, gave them data and narrative that backed up their decision. Then, the clamoring, radically preservation-minded subscribers to PPA and NJCF piled on. That is the issue. Full stop.

There's really only one thing to do here. Somebody should lead a petition drive to delay the implementation of the current offering by one year - a cooling-off period. And in that time, all those who really want more of those unprinted trails to remain open, must prepare cogent presentations on which of those roads should remain open and why, even though they are not on that topographic map.
 
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smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
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Boyd, on that amalgamated topo you posted, many trails created by some method and used over the years are not shown. That's why the DEP took the position that they should not be there at all. And some biologists and scientists (both state and private), who study the flora and fauna, gave them data and narrative that backed up their decision. Then, the clamoring, radically preservation-minded subscribers to PPA and NJCF piled on. That is the issue. Full stop.

There's really only one thing to do here. Somebody should lead a petition drive to delay the implementation of the current offering by one year - a cooling-off period. And in that time, all those who really want more of those unprinted trails to remain open, must prepare cogent presentations on which of those roads should remain open and why, even though they are not on that topographic map.
And in that time it gives the DEP time to make the trails that are on the map actually useable
 

Ben Ruset

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bobpbx

Piney
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By the way, wasn't there a planned closure map crafted by the Wharton Superintendant that was worse for us, well before the Pinelands Commission helped make the amalgamated map?
 

Boyd

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Boyd, on that amalgamated topo you posted, many trails created by some method and used over the years are not shown.

Just to be clear, all I posted was a link to a file on the Pinelands Commission website.

Too bad they don't have a higher resolution version that is actually useful.

I never even looked before but just did now. You're right, it looks terrible.
 
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bobpbx

Piney
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The 2015 Motorized Access Plan, which is basically the same as the 2023 Visitor Vehicle Use Map.
I'm not sure of that yet Ben. I don't recall the Superintendant trotting out a topo and saying; "you can only drive on these roads". I think, even if it was not a topo, that there was something else. I could be wrong, but I'm not convinced yet.
 

Boyd

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I'm not sure of that yet Ben.

I also seem to recall a map that the Wharton Superintendent created before 2015, there's probably an old thread buried in the slag heap. :D But seriously, we had a member who was taking GIS courses and wrote about helping him map Wharton. Didn't something grow out of that? I thought the 2015 map was the revised version in response to that original map after all the stakeholder meetings, etc.
 
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bobpbx

Piney
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I also seem to recall a map that the Wharton Superintendent created before 2015, there's probably an old thread buried in the slag heap. :D But seriously, we had a member who was taking GIS courses and wrote about helping him map Wharton. Didn't something grow out of that? I thought the 2015 map was the revised version in response to that original map after all the stakeholder meetings, etc.
Yes, and I do recall that many agreed if they used the topo maps from the 1997 era, we'd stand by it, because at that time we were just trying to stop the bleeding. Do you remember this on the front page article?

NJPineBarrens.com and Open Trails NJ are taking the position that:
  • We support using a USGS Topographical map to establish a baseline of roads, however the 1997 map must be used as it is last complete map of roads in Wharton State Forest.
 

tsqurd

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Jul 29, 2015
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By the way, wasn't there a planned closure map crafted by the Wharton Superintendant that was worse for us, well before the Pinelands Commission helped make the amalgamated map?
I dont remember the Superintendent sharing a map, but I do remember how he had "volunteers" out there closing roads down prior to the MAP. The below thread was started in July 2015, which I believe was just before the DEP officially announced the MAP.

 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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I dont remember the Superintendent sharing a map, but I do remember how he had "volunteers" out there closing roads down prior to the MAP. The below thread was started in July 2015, which I believe was just before the DEP officially announced the MAP.


Yes, I ran into Rob that day with Jason and a woman. I did not know Jason at the time or the woman. After I spoke with them Jessica and I walked a short distance away and were taking photos of some plants and decided to show Rob and the others. They walked over as I was on the ground taking the photos and I accidentally semi crushed one and Rob took a photo of me doing it. He later made it a point to remind me of my mistake, using it to demonstrate how it was important to block access because even I could damage plants that I even know about.

I saw the woman once more at the Waterford municipal building when many of us were there to support our cause. She came running into the room screaming at us like a crazy woman and nobody but myself realized who she was.

I had been in his office months before that and he told me about the road closures coming. I actually warned everyone on this site about it. I will have to find that post.

This is the photo he took of me at the plants.

Photo Jul 18, 12 31 58 PM_.jpg
 

Teegate

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Because I posted about this the DEP learned that he was jumping the gun with the closures and they had to admit it was happening. Rob even asked me to change the name of my thread to "ORV Management In Sensitive Areas of Wharton" after he saw I had titled it differently using Road Closures. I din't think much about it at the time so I changed the title.
 

Ben Ruset

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Yes, I ran into Rob that day with Jason and a woman. I did not know Jason at the time or the woman. After I spoke with them Jessica and I walked a short distance away and were taking photos of some plants and decided to show Rob and the others. They walked over as I was on the ground taking the photos and I accidentally semi crushed one and Rob took a photo of me doing it. He later made it a point to remind me of my mistake, using it to demonstrate how it was important to block access because even I could damage plants that I even know about.

I saw the woman once more at the Waterford municipal building when many of us were there to support our cause. She came running into the room screaming at us like a crazy woman and nobody but myself realized who she was.

I had been in his office months before that and he told me about the road closures coming. I actually warned everyone on this site about it. I will have to find that post.

This is the photo he took of me at the plants.

View attachment 21933
Look at this pro-ORV anti-preservation scofflaw recklessly damaging sensitive plant life while daring to not be part of the Pinelands Prevention Alliance/DEP clique. People like him are EXACTLY why the DEP needs to shut down 50% of the roads within Wharton otherwise who knows what devastation might be wrought.
 
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