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

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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Check out this article. There could be a cop on every corner soon :D



 

bobpbx

Piney
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Oct 25, 2002
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Pines; Bamber area
That won't fly, local cops should not have that kind of duty.

I've always argued the the DMV needs to build an elite force as part of their agency. A force with the ability to go on any state or federal land in the state to stop the nonsense. Charge another dollar on each registration and license. Get it done.
 

NJPinesExplorer

New Member
Sep 14, 2016
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31
Mount Laurel, NJ
Check out this article. There could be a cop on every corner soon :D




It's at least encouraging to see some legislative action against the road closures.
 

bobpbx

Piney
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Oct 25, 2002
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Boyd, is there an option to make this light green a different color with more contrast?

1709083332017.png
 

Boyd

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Boyd, is there an option to make this light green a different color with more contrast?

I had a look at the options and am rather lost because I haven't worked with styles on Xenforo sites before. I checked the colors in your screenshot, but don't even see them defined in the current site style. So this is gonna be a question for Ben (would be anyway, since it's about the design of the site). I'll ask him and we'll see what he says.
 
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Teegate

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From the PPA website.

We are excited about the 2024 Pinelands Adventures season, but we have to delay opening up our 2024 trip registrations due to a new licensing process initiated by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Please be patient as we navigate the new DEP policies and wait for the decisions that have to be made on their end. We will keep you updated as we wait for our approvals to share the Pinelands with you again. We will post updates on our website and will send an email when our trips are officially open for booking!


And then check this out.

 

Bog Mermaid

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Nov 8, 2021
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From the PPA website.

We are excited about the 2024 Pinelands Adventures season, but we have to delay opening up our 2024 trip registrations due to a new licensing process initiated by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Please be patient as we navigate the new DEP policies and wait for the decisions that have to be made on their end. We will keep you updated as we wait for our approvals to share the Pinelands with you again. We will post updates on our website and will send an email when our trips are officially open for booking!


And then check this out.

Here is the full link to what the state is requiring for outfitters, concessions and the East point Lighthouse to continue operating. This affects Pinelands Adventures, Micks and anyone else working and trying to do business in the state forests. The map you posted are all the launches that a livery permit includes and has included so far. It’s a difficult situation to navigate leaving a lot of uncertainty for future plans as they change the rules and requirements, and fees.
 
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NJPinesExplorer

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Sep 14, 2016
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I don't think I've seen this discussed here yet. The NJ DEP posted the media meeting for the unveiling of the VVUM back in January up on YouTube (here), and it's illuminating to see how Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette addressed some of the questions and how some of the data was presented.

A few take-aways:
  • 10:30
    • Definitely downplaying and brushing off the near 3 to 1 ratio of surveys in-favor of keeping access as-is
  • 12:17
    • The two maps shown have a key difference that was covered during the public meeting but not mentioned here. The area to drive map did not include surveys that stated all of Wharton / circled the entire area on the map. However, the Poor condition / Area of Concern map shown next has every single segment of Wharton with at least 16-30 responses. Sure looks like surveys where all of Wharton was selected as an area of concern were not thrown out.
    • Edit: I went back and watched the Feb 8, 2023 public meeting where the DEP walked through those maps in a bit more detail. They had two thresholds for the size of submitted areas: either 5,000 acres or 90,000 acres. For the driving area map, 182 out of 539 were under 5,000 acres. It appears that the other 357 were thrown out. However, for the Poor Condition map there were 336 total areas, but only 35 were over 90,000 acres, and it's not clear if any were thrown out, or only the over 90,000 areas were thrown out, but the threshold of acceptance was significantly higher (90,000 vs 5,000) for poor condition submissions than driving route submissions.
  • 22:05
    • A member of the press asks about closing 50% of the roads and Commissioner Shawn LaTourette jumps in with the "that's not a correct characterization of the issue" approach where he tries to say that the roads were never legal roads to begin with. Of course there was no mention of the DEP request for federal funding to maintain 600 miles of roads in Wharton.
  • 27:20
    • Press of AC journalist asks about fines for street legal vehicles going off the map vs the increased illegal vehicle fines that keep getting touted as part of this effort and Commissioner LaTourette completely misses the point of the question and goes on a condescending rant about street legal vs off-road vehicles. The journalist rephrases for him and he finally gets it right and says it's a violation of the park code and you get a fine.
  • 35:40
    • Another journalist says "you're going from 400 miles to 200 miles of drivable roads" and Commissioner LaTourette jumps in to tell him that assertion is factually incorrect. Then repeats the same points as before. Clearly outside observers see this for what it is: a plan to close roads.
  • In general
    • A few mentions of the permit system being tabled for now but not out of the conversation for the future - I still personally think it was a negotiation tactic and distraction from the real plan to close the roads
    • Some discussion of how to enforce the map including barriers and signage
    • Many mentions of how this is important for public safety but no data to back that up. How many people are injured each year driving down these sand roads they plan to close?
    • Lots of "we need to educate the public" talk because they know it's an unpopular plan that doesn't address the concerns they are using to justify it
Overall not really any new information here. Commissioner LaTourette has been quoted in some of media regarding his framing of the plan not being a road closure plan, but there is a bit more detail on that in the video. I interacted with John Cecil during the public meeting and observed his interactions with others, but this was my first time seeing Commissioner LaTourette engage on the issue and I found it a bit interesting.
 
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Boyd

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Sure looks like surveys where all of Wharton was selected as an area of concern were thrown out.

That wouldn't surprise me. If this was the plan, IMO it would have been better left un-said...

We should just absolutely swamp the "interactive mapping tool" mentioned in the press release. Collectively mark every single road and site as important. Pollute the dataset.
 

stiltzkin

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Feb 8, 2022
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I really do think all of Wharton is important, though, and I think others did as well. "Pollute" was maybe not the right word to use, because submissions for the whole area were valid. More like skew the data to make a point.

When the survey did come out, I ended up not using the mapping tool at all and instead provided a detailed written response.
 

NJPinesExplorer

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Sep 14, 2016
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Mount Laurel, NJ
I really do think all of Wharton is important, though, and I think others did as well. "Pollute" was maybe not the right word to use, because submissions for the whole area were valid. More like skew the data to make a point.

When the survey did come out, I ended up not using the mapping tool at all and instead provided a detailed written response.

The wording isn’t the best like you said, but it doesn’t make a survey which indicated all of Wharton as important for access any less valid. Especially when selecting all of Wharton as an area of concern for ORV abuse was apparently accepted by the DEP and included in the data.
 
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RednekF350

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Feb 20, 2004
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My Township passed this resolution last night. They have been very supportive in the past and passed a similar resolution back when the permit system was under consideration and contacted our local legislators. Our Mayor, Tom Giangiulio, has vowed to do the same again.
Almost 70% of our Township is Wharton State Forest.
 

Attachments

  • Wharton Roads RES.2024-119 .Reaffiring opposition to Road Map.pdf
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