How do we stop the damage?

Ben Ruset

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Oct 12, 2004
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Eatontown, NJ
www.benruset.com
I think there should be a map (lower case) that people can pick up at Batsto and Atsion, but I think that the roads/areas that get closed off need to be decided on in a sane, transparent manner - not the way that the DEP was "advised" behind closed doors with the MAP.
 

enormiss

Explorer
Aug 18, 2015
292
126
Atco NJ
Every single unblocked ORV site that I monitor has fresh tracks going through it- this includes Jemima Mt which has a gate, but the gate alone has proven insufficient. We had 10 volunteers go and watch locations last Monday and we made 5 calls to the DEP Hotline to report 12 illegal drivers/riders during the course of 3 and 1/2 hours...
I may get out to the pines less than anyone on here, but you had me curious so I went out twice today and covered alot of ground. I didnt see a single person for 45min and the first person I did see was a ranger. Over the next few hours I seen a woman in a red compact car with a dog and a parked blue pick up. Went out again a few hours later and seen 3 dual sport cycles (legal and riding together) , a black SUV, and a mountain bike. The most significant damage I seen was a flooded area/road from a beaver dam by a RR trestle. I visited one trouble spot and was in the immediate area of another but had a much different experience than you did. IMO the increased enforcement is and will continue to make things better. Nothing will completely eliminate illegal activity, so if you look hard or long enough there will always be a picture or video to post...
 

Jason Howell

Explorer
Nov 23, 2009
126
50
I may get out to the pines less than anyone on here, but you had me curious so I went out twice today and covered alot of ground. I didnt see a single person for 45min and the first person I did see was a ranger. Over the next few hours I seen a woman in a red compact car with a dog and a parked blue pick up. Went out again a few hours later and seen 3 dual sport cycles (legal and riding together) , a black SUV, and a mountain bike. The most significant damage I seen was a flooded area/road from a beaver dam by a RR trestle. I visited one trouble spot and was in the immediate area of another but had a much different experience than you did. IMO the increased enforcement is and will continue to make things better. Nothing will completely eliminate illegal activity, so if you look hard or long enough there will always be a picture or video to post...

I often have similar experiences, but that is the way it has been for as long as I have been around. You could sit on one spot for weeks and not see a single soul(or police officer), then one week a group of ATVs or jeeps comes through and tears the place apart. The issue is that sporadic damage over a long period of time can be just as bad as frequent damage over a short period of time. The other issue is that Wharton is now at least temporarily known as a hot area now by the local folks. So what we are dealing with are locals who know exactly where the cops are not and don't mind the risk of a ticket and out-of-staters and north/central jersey folks who probably haven't heard about any uproar over off-roading in our corner of the woods at all.

The huge areas of destruction did occur when no one was putting heat on this issue or monitoring sites. However, the sporadic damage is corrosive, like rust, slowly eating away at the place. Another issue, is that because there are so many nooks and crannies, someone could be planning another quarter mile bog right now and it would be very hard to know until it's too late.
 

tsqurd

Explorer
Jul 29, 2015
158
95
South Jersey
... I have watched this problem grow and worsen during my life... As part of the millennial generation, I am coming to some of these places for the first time and finding them destroyed...

I often have similar experiences, but that is the way it has been for as long as I have been around. You could sit on one spot for weeks and not see a single soul....

...Over-stretched and under gunned, the Park Police are being overrun by the ORVs.

...Wharton is now at least temporarily known as a hot area now by the local folks....


Wow.


....The other issue is that Wharton is now at least temporarily known as a hot area now by the local folks. So what we are dealing with are locals who know exactly where the cops are not and don't mind the risk of a ticket and out-of-staters and north/central jersey folks who probably haven't heard about any uproar over off-roading in our corner of the woods at all.

So we are listing out-of-staters, people from north Jersey, central Jersey folks as problematic, and to that we are now adding locals. So basically everyone. Thanks for keeping the pot stirred.
 
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bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,225
2,458
Pines; Bamber area
Hmmm, if there was a group of people that spent a lot of time in the woods....................

Things don't always work out neatly. For instance, yesterday, I was exploring the woods right next to the 200+ grass fields west of 539 by the Chamberlin Branch. I was at the edge of a field about 200 yards from the main road. I could hear quite a few quads or dirt bikes in the area of the fields, which is strictly forbidden for many reasons, not the least of these is the unintentional harassment of wildlife. If I was in the open, and near them, I might advise them to leave (politely). But I was not about to run out there yelling and waving my arms...they'd be gone. And sure, I could call the conservation officer hotline, but really, on a Sunday? No, in my opinion the solution is to fund the officers properly to enable them to enforce things while the rest of us enjoy the woods responsibly. There has to be political will to find the money by deleting useless programs, eliminating inefficiencies, or increasing taxes to get this done.
 

SuperChooch

Explorer
Aug 26, 2011
321
319
44
So Jason, you never did post those pins so we could talk about these specific locations so let's talk more generally. You see there is a recurring theme about the need for additional funding to properly enforce the rules already in place. So would the PPA be wiling to direct its followers to a lobbying effort to get more funding allocated? That is something I could get behind and I would imagine so would others here.
 

92 Blazer Jeff

Explorer
Aug 24, 2015
259
100
GLASSBORO,NJ
This is on NJCF property, looks like it's working. IMG_3140.JPG IMG_3143.JPG IMG_3144.JPG IMG_3145.JPG IMG_3146.JPG
 
Feb 1, 2016
273
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Camden County, NJ
A complicated issue in balancing access against protection. Jason posed the question of "How do we stop the damage?". I agree with SuperChooch that one avenue is increased enforcement capability of existing laws. With the current Governor in place it does make any immediate change difficult but advocating in unison (OTNJ, NJOA, PPA, NJCF, etc) all together with the obligatory news, magazine, and local tv coverage could get the meaningful attention of Trenton. The laws are already in place, lets find the funding. This is a tough crowd for Jason but I have to say a one time 6 figure donation from the multimillion dollar coffers of the NJCF board towards additional Law Enforcement efforts in the Pines would go a long way in helping curb illegal off roading and in my mind create a buffer of goodwill.

I agree with Ben, that a revised MAP (or map) :) would actually protect law abiding citizens rights to access while helping LEO prosecute lawbreakers. It will be interesting to see what if anything the Pinelands Commission decides in that regard.

One caveat to the dismissal of the previous MAP was that it was good to cancel a bad plan, but it was bad to not address the very few roads that deserved to be closed. My objective criteria for a road that should be closed is a road that should never have been built. Cherry Hill road is a prime example. It is one of the few State Natural areas (significant environmental area), it goes directly through 2 miles of swamp, the road is frequently flooded 2 feet deep for hundreds of yards. and even during dry periods 12 stream crossings are required to get through its 2.2 miles. Close it.

In the short term I like the idea of State sanctioned volunteers who report to a State employee and are tasked with daytime monitoring (as a volunteer) known trouble areas such as Greenwood Wildlife Management, 1/4 mile, etc. Perhaps free camping permits for volunteers as a thank you? On Sunday I was driving past GWMA on rte 72 and a truck towing FOUR quads on a trailer came out of the woods....too late when they are coming out, but a call when they were going in could have alerted F&W or PP. This wont stop the 2am locals hell bent on destruction but it could prevent daytime marauders especially the ton of out of state folks I saw with purpose built 4x4's with out of state plates coming out of the woods on labor day caked bumper to bumper in mud.

Enforcement, volunteer assist, education, outreach within the 4x4 community via OTNJ all could play a part in helping slow the damage. As NGO's the PPA and its folks as well as OTNJ and its folks should and could work together on the areas of common ground. Let's be honest however, there are some folks who want to "offroad" wherever they want and those days need to be over and likewise the Pinelands cant and should not be a "wilderness" area where only non motorized activities are allowed. Lets find that common ground. Carlton/Jason I hope you are listening and John D. and David D. you too :)

Mike
 
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Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
23,149
5,027
An interesting location. In reality that is state property for about 150 out into the pond. The map below shows the current proper line with the state owning to the left and NJCF owning to the right. However, there has been some funny dealings going on in recent years as the actual state property from the north crossed the pond to the stone and then turned west to the line. I have maps showing most of that land being owned by the state. So whatever happened over the years has taken some of the pond from us.


The purple line is the gate location and the location of the previous views.


fb.jpg



Guy
 
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smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,131
576
Atco, NJ
A complicated issue in balancing access against protection. Jason posed the question of "How do we stop the damage?". I agree with SuperChooch that one avenue is increased enforcement capability of existing laws. With the current Governor in place it does make any immediate change difficult but advocating in unison (OTNJ, NJOA, PPA, NJCF, etc) all together with the obligatory news, magazine, and local tv coverage could get the meaningful attention of Trenton. The laws are already in place, lets find the funding. This is a tough crowd for Jason but I have to say a one time 6 figure donation from the multimillion dollar coffers of the NJCF board towards additional Law Enforcement efforts in the Pines would go a long way in helping curb illegal off roading and in my mind create a buffer of goodwill.

I agree with Ben, that a revised MAP (or map) :) would actually protect law abiding citizens rights to access while helping LEO prosecute lawbreakers. It will be interesting to see what if anything the Pinelands Commission decides in that regard.

One caveat to the dismissal of the previous MAP was that it was good to cancel a bad plan, but it was bad to not address the very few roads that deserved to be closed. My objective criteria for a road that should be closed is a road that should never have been built. Cherry Hill road is a prime example. It is one of the few State Natural areas (significant environmental area), it goes directly through 2 miles of swamp, the road is frequently flooded 2 feet deep for hundreds of yards. and even during dry periods 12 stream crossings are required to get through its 2.2 miles. Close it.

In the short term I like the idea of State sanctioned volunteers who report to a State employee and are tasked with daytime monitoring (as a volunteer) known trouble areas such as Greenwood Wildlife Management, 1/4 mile, etc. Perhaps free camping permits for volunteers as a thank you? On Sunday I was driving past GWMA on rte 72 and a truck towing FOUR quads on a trailer came out of the woods....too late when they are coming out, but a call when they were going in could have alerted F&W or PP. This wont stop the 2am locals hell bent on destruction but it could prevent daytime marauders especially the ton of out of state folks I saw with purpose built 4x4's with out of state plates coming out of the woods on labor day caked bumper to bumper in mud.

Enforcement, volunteer assist, education, outreach within the 4x4 community via OTNJ all could play a part in helping slow the damage. As NGO's the PPA and its folks as well as OTNJ and its folks should and could work together on the areas of common ground. Let's be honest however, there are some folks who want to "offroad" wherever they want and those days need to be over and likewise the Pinelands cant and should not be a "wilderness" area where only non motorized activities are allowed. Lets find that common ground. Carlton/Jason I hope you are listening and John D. and David D. you too :)

Mike
Thanks Mike. Your opinion mirrors most of the people here in this forum. There are a lot of people here that really care about the pines and have great ideas. The unfortunate part is that this thread was not meant to get answers. It started off calling the project at Jemima Mount, one that many people here worked hard to orchestrate with the State, as "insufficient". That was not a lets work together comment. Given the statistics it has been every bit as effective as all the trees that were dropped to protect the pool off Sandy Causeway. Yes, ATVs still get back there but it's showing nice improvement.
This thread was created solely to keep it in conversation leading up to the PLC meeting.
Personally I agree with you Cherry Hill Road should be closed, but OTNJ represents different demographics that all enjoy the pines responsibly. Collectively everyone's opinion matters. If there's a hunting group that has utilized that area for years then we should attempt to accommodate them if at all possible rather then simply shutting it down. Working together means that we have to listen to many different opinions and choose a path somewhere in the middle.
Reducing the damage is a win in my book. Elimination is not possible just as it is with illegal dumping.
 
Feb 1, 2016
273
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Camden County, NJ
Thanks Mike. Your opinion mirrors most of the people here in this forum. There are a lot of people here that really care about the pines and have great ideas. The unfortunate part is that this thread was not meant to get answers. It started off calling the project at Jemima Mount, one that many people here worked hard to orchestrate with the State, as "insufficient". That was not a lets work together comment. Given the statistics it has been every bit as effective as all the trees that were dropped to protect the pool off Sandy Causeway. Yes, ATVs still get back there but it's showing nice improvement.
This thread was created solely to keep it in conversation leading up to the PLC meeting.
Personally I agree with you Cherry Hill Road should be closed, but OTNJ represents different demographics that all enjoy the pines responsibly. Collectively everyone's opinion matters. If there's a hunting group that has utilized that area for years then we should attempt to accommodate them if at all possible rather then simply shutting it down. Working together means that we have to listen to many different opinions and choose a path somewhere in the middle.
Reducing the damage is a win in my book. Elimination is not possible just as it is with illegal dumping.
Agreed (and I agree on the Hunters having access to CH Road). Progress is progress. We can get much more accomplished going to Trenton with a unified front hammered out of compromise.
 
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tsqurd

Explorer
Jul 29, 2015
158
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South Jersey
On Sunday I was driving past GWMA on rte 72 and a truck towing FOUR quads on a trailer came out of the woods....too late when they are coming out, but a call when they were going in could have alerted F&W or PP.

I wouldn't be so sure those guys were leaving on their own accord - the po po have that area been covering that area pretty well. Every time I have been by the lakes that are hidden this summer there have been a several enforcement vehicles in the area, several times in deep discussions with some unhappy ATV riders. Doubt they would have missed a nice weekend.
 
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