Let's Talk about the PPA

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,102
3,325
Pines; Bamber area
That is a great picture. I just wish it said that the establishment next door supports limiting access to roads and enjoyment of the pines.

That is painting Pinelands Adventures with too broad of a brush. You really can't equate them with the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. The mission of PA is very limited and specific (adventures in the Pines and education), whereas PPA is involved more with policy and planning overall.
 

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
8,837
2,128
Coastal NJ
That is painting Pinelands Adventures with too broad of a brush. You really can't equate them with the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. The mission of PA is very limited and specific (adventures in the Pines and education), whereas PPA is involved more with policy and planning overall.

Regardless the type of brush, they are both from the same paint.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,102
3,325
Pines; Bamber area
Nor you Bob'O

Well then, why didn't you say so! Please, enlighten me. Tell me why it would be okay to hassle that business. Even if they are tied to PPA, the employees there are simply doing their job—which has absolutely nothing to do with closing roads and limiting access. In contrast to the MAPs intent, their sole job is to promote access to, and enjoyment of, the pine barrens. Limiting access was a tactic that was promoted by others. Give PA a break and stop vilifying them.
 
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tsqurd

Explorer
Jul 29, 2015
172
119
South Jersey
Well then, why didn't you say so! Please, enlighten me. Tell me why it would be okay to hassle that business. Even if they are tied to PPA, the employees there are simply doing their job—which has absolutely nothing to do with closing roads and limiting access. In contrast to the MAPs intent, their sole job is to promote access to, and enjoyment of, the pine barrens. Limiting access was a tactic that was promoted by others. Give PA a break and stop vilifying them.

Well for starters, PA is a for profit entity. Where do the profits go: to the owners. Who owns PA? Hint: if you are unsure check out PA's home page, there is a link to the owners (And one can find loads of information on the MAP on that site) So, if providing money to the people that want to limit access isn't incentive enough for one to hold the business accountable, I'm not sure what is. Certainly there have been calls in the past few years to hold other business accountable for much less of a direct connection to controversial issues.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,102
3,325
Pines; Bamber area
Certainly there have been calls in the past few years to hold other business accountable for much less of a direct connection to controversial issues.

So, what you are saying then, is that those who are against the map should go over there and picket the establishment? Go ahead, it's a free country. Just don't be a dick and say that they are the ones limiting access.

PS: Of course, trying to force the state to back off by attacking Pineland Adventures is a totally useless exercise. You should be up in Trenton.
 
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smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,288
744
Atco, NJ
So, what you are saying then, is that those who are against the map should go over there and picket the establishment? Go ahead, it's a free country. Just don't be a dick and say that they are the ones limiting access.

PS: Of course, trying to force the state to back off by attacking Pineland Adventures is a totally useless exercise. You should be up in Trenton.
Kind of like this?
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127747890
I don't think boycotting PA is right but if I were to rent a canoe I would likely use one of the others in light of their ties.
 

Ray-El

New Member
Nov 12, 2010
8
17
I think it comes down to who the players are and what policy they support. This isn't like Chick-fil-a, where people were boycotting them because of the views of the owners - views that are not advocated in their restaurants and don't have any impact on how customers are treated. Even with BP, the owners of the gas stations are pretty far-removed from what's happening at a corporate level. That's not the case with the PPA and Pineland Adventures. They were created to support the PPA's overall mission and many of the players are the same. Using their PA website for advocacy of the MAP is indicative of that. But that applies ONLY to the business entity... not the employees personally. They may very well have nothing to do with the overal issue and may not even support it. That being said, if you knowingly align yourself with an organization stuck in the middle of a controversial issue such as this, you have to expect that it might have an impact on your day at work...even if it's just through someone unknowingly calling them to rant, thinking they're calling the PPA.
 

Ben Ruset

Administrator
Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
7,552
1,616
Monmouth County
www.benruset.com
Ok I feel like we're beating a dead horse here. While I am not thrilled with the situation, it's the PPA and not PA that is out actively advocating to shut down access to huge swaths of the forest.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,679
6,982
If you want to boycott PA that is one thing, but it is totally obvious they are not the ones you should be concerned with. When I see them along Quaker Bridge road I smile and wave as they go by. I would highly recommend everyone do the same.
 
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Ben Ruset

Administrator
Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
7,552
1,616
Monmouth County
www.benruset.com
What's even more interesting is how the stakeholder meetings are going. Check this out:

From: DEP whartonstakeholdermeetings
Sent: ‎10/‎7/‎2015 11:40 AM
Subject: Invitation to Wharton State Forest Motorized Access Plan Stakeholder Meeting

You are cordially invited to participate in a NJDEP Wharton State Forest Motorized Access Plan stakeholder meeting on Thursday, October 22 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at
The Batsto Village Visitor Center, 4110 Nesco Road, Hammonton, NJ 08037 . The meeting will include a broad overview of the goals of a motorized access plan and a discussion of your ideas on how we can achieve maximum access to the Forest for multiple types of users, while at the same time protecting public safety and ecologically sensitive areas. At the meeting, we will be looking at a map of the Forest and marking it up together.
DEP would like to hear from you about the following goals for Wharton State Forest:
1. Identify routes currently suitable for motorized access;
2. Improve enforcement efforts and coordinate Emergency Response to better protect the forest for present and future generations;
3. Focus maintenance efforts;
4. Improve public awareness of impacts of use and of abuse to the forest, and
5. Protect endangered species, habitat, and cultural resources.
NJDEP is convening these stakeholder meetings in order for us to learn your concerns and ideas. These ideas and concerns are important information that will be considered in order to develop and implement an effective access plan. Participation in this stakeholder meeting is by invitation only. Due to space limitations, only one person per organization can attend. If you are unable to attend, please send a designee. Please RSVP to attend or assign a designee from your organization by contacting: Whartonstakeholdermeetings@dep.nj.gov. Thank you. We look forward to seeing you at the stakeholder meeting.

But I have heard that at the non-motorized meeting there were 8 members of the PPA present, including Al Horner who was representing the "Pinelands Photography" stakeholder group. Perhaps not so coincidentally a lot of the opposition's stakeholder invitations went missing or were botched up. I had to jump through hoops to get my invite, and at the last minute found out that they put NJPB in for the wrong time slot.

On top of that, at one of the meetings the "blank slate" that was used to examine the roads in the forest was a low resolution map from the 1970s that the state used to use to hand out to people going to camping sites. There's less roads on that map then even the draft MAP.

There's very shady things going on here. Even if you don't like the anti-MAP people, you should be concerned that this supposedly "open" and "transparent" process is being corrupted. The next time it happens it might be for something that you're against.
 

smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,288
744
Atco, NJ
The same seems to be going on with the November public meeting. I registered weeks ago by email. I didn't get a response, so I called. They had my name but no email adress, which seems strange since I sent it by email. After calling I was told I'm on the list and they have added my email adress to my name. They were very helpful after I called but I still haven't received a response by email yet.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,679
6,982
Make sure you go early. At the stakeholder meeting last night it was revealed that the auditorium will only hold around 1000 people and anyone who comes after it fills up will go to another room with TV access.
 

Ben Ruset

Administrator
Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
7,552
1,616
Monmouth County
www.benruset.com

Looks like the PPA released a new piece of science fiction today.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) needs to hear to from you. Otherwise, they will think only people in trucks and ATVs care about what happens to the largest state-protected forest in New Jersey!

Right, because the ~5000 people who signed the petition against the way the MAP was rolled out are all driving trucks or ATVs. Let's gloss over the fact that people like environmentalists, historians, kayakers, hikers, botanists, geocachers have also come out strongly against the MAP.

The DEP has been struggling to implement a motorized access plan for Wharton State Forest as a first step in overcoming decades of abuse.

The DEP is struggling because of the ham fisted way that one of their local administrators rolled out the MAP. Who would have ever thought that people would get upset because over 50% of the roads and trails in the forest were being closed without any forewarning or input from the people who use the forest. No, literally, one day "No Motorized Vehicles" signs started appearing all over the forest without any explanation. Had it not been for the MoveOn.org petition I started, the DEP would have waited until all of the signs were up before they announced the closures. That same local administrator chastised me for making that petition, because it's apparently not acceptable for people to have a voice in this.

Let's also not forget that the DEP has been struggling to enforce decades long closures of areas such as Jemima Mount and Quarter Mile unsuccessfully. How would adding more closures actually stop the damage?

Yet - last week DEP management ordered the removal of signs like you see here. Now river banks and habitat for threatened species appear to open to abuse by motor vehicles once again.

If you care about New Jersey's State Forests and their plants, wildlife and the rights of citizens to enjoy some parts of the forests without motorbikes, jeeps and trucks please take action today!

River banks and habitat for threatened species should not be open to abuse by anybody. OpenTrailsNJ, NJOA, and NJPineBarrens.com have all advocated for targeted closures to sensitive areas. Those trails to the river banks? Close 'em.

The second part of their statement is an interesting ethical dilemma. So some citizens have the right to tell another bunch of citizens how they should or should not enjoy the forest? Why does the PPA get to be the final arbiter on how people can enjoy the forest?

I like to explore the Pines year round, including hunting season. I would never dream of lobbying the state to abolish, or severely curtail, hunting simply because I don't like the sounds of rifles firing. I learned how to share in pre-K. It seems like the PPA could use a refresher course.

This isn't just about Wharton State Forest - it is about all parks and forests in the state of New Jersey and how we protect our natural resources in an increasingly crowded state. Wharton State Forest must have a detailed map for its visitors showing where people can drive their vehicles legally. And it must be accompanied by signs in the state forest itself. There is no getting around the following facts:

Agreed. The majority of people fighting against the MAP believe this to be true. And a really high quality map of Wharton showing all of the trails and pointing out historic, natural, and scenic sites would be welcome.

#1 - Informal trails to river banks, go-arounds, fire service push cuts to wetlands, and informal ATV playgrounds must be closed immediately. These are not official roads and their use by trucks and ATVs is causing great damage. Even the most minimal responsible stewardship requires these to be closed to motor vehicles.

Agreed, mostly:
  • Fresh trails should not be cut by anybody but the DEP. Period.
  • Go-arounds happen when road conditions deteriorate to a point where the road is impassable. Had Wharton State Forest been funded properly and road maintenance occurred there would be less of a need for them.
  • Fire service push cuts shouldn't go into sensitive wetlands, in my opinion, but if they do then the Forest Fire Service should close them off immediately. In fact, this is what they are supposed to do, but they haven't been doing it.
  • Informal ATV playgrounds? What is that? ATV's have been illegal to operate on state land since Commissioner Bradley Campbell banned them in 2002. If there are ATVs out in the Pines (and yes, there are) then the state needs to get serious about enforcing its own laws.
#2 - Some sand roads are being abused, riddled with puddles that get deeper every time a truck (or even a vehicle of any type) drives through or spins its tires. These must be closed until they are made safe and there is a sustainable plan to protect them over time. This kind of damage keeps responsible visitors out and prevents emergency services from using these roads, posing a threat to us all.

First off, the proposed MAP itself would keep responsible visitors out far more effectively than any road that's riddled with puddles. Second of all, can the authors of this melodrama keep a straight face and say that they've never driven through a puddle in the Pine Barrens?


Looks like they can't, since that's Al Horner's (a very vocal pro-MAP activist) driving his Ford Escape through a puddle in the Pine Barrens. It's hyperbole to say that driving through a puddle makes it worse. If you keep to the side and go slow, your impact is negligible. Puddles form naturally in the Pine Barrens. It was a common occurrence for stage coach wagons to get mired in the mud while transiting the Pines. It's no different today.

#3 - There are some sand roads in exceptional places that should be closed to motorized vehicles because of their great natural resource value for wildlife and plants. Unfettered access year round to these special natural areas harms rare wildlife and plants, damages wetlands and encourages off-road driving into critical habitats.

Absolutely! I've always advocated for road closures that target specific areas rather than a blanket closure like the proposed MAP. In fact we'd welcome working with the DEP and organizations like the PPA to identify those areas that need to be closed. But it has to be done scientifically. Just because one area has a population of endangered snakes, shouldn't mean that thousands of acres nearby can be shut down, especially when the main scene of snake death by auto is happening on a major road nearby.

#4 - Law enforcement is essential - the State Park Police has not effectively enforced motorized vehicle and other rules in Wharton State Forest, in part because of lack of will and in part because there are too many sand roads and trails for the police to monitor. A well-publicized access plan is essential to getting effective enforcement against damaging and illegal activities.

Agreed. However, when has the PPA fought with Trenton for a budget increase for the State Park Police to buy the necessary equipment to actually patrol those closures? The PPA has a history of yelling very loudly about ORV damage, but besides advocating the closing off of access, they've never done anything actually useful to solve the problem. A well publicized plan IS essential to getting effective enforcement against damaging and illegal activities, and all of the stakeholders and the DEP are working to come up with one -- that's FAIR.

All of this is just a temper tantrum from the PPA because they're not getting the draconian closure plan that they want.

#5 - The Forest Fire Service, hunters, horseback riders and other recreationists agree with these proposals, but their voices are being drowned out by "official" representatives whose primary goal is to promote truck and ATV recreation in all parts of Wharton State Forest, without respect for natural resources or the interests of those who enjoy the forest in other ways than driving.

Firstly, the FFS is part of the problem. And, if the closures did happen, the roads that they want to be able to use in case of a fire will grow over and be impassable. So either someone is putting words in the FFS spokespersons mouth or they just haven't thought it through. Yes, some other recreational organizations support the proposed MAP. And some don't. Why do the pro-MAP people think that their opinions should matter more? There's almost 5000 people from ALL walks of life that petitioned the DEP to rethink the MAP. The NJOA (New Jersey Outdoor Alliance) is against the proposed MAP and they represent one of the largest user groups of the forest - the hunters. The PPA loves to try to downplay the fact that the public is against this plan - by demonizing anybody who disagrees with them, and hoping that the people who read their email blasts aren't smart enough to look at the facts and come to a reasonable conclusion on their own.

#6 - Wharton State Forest must have a detailed map for its visitors clearly showing where vehicles can and cannot go and what behaviors, motorized and non-motorized, are permitted in the State Forest.

Totally agree. A map (lower case) has been sorely needed. Hopefully, when a better motorized access plan is put together after consulting with all of the user groups there will be one that will allow everyone to safely and responsibly enjoy Wharton State Forest.

Carlton's Personal Note:
I was out on a hike with a friend in Wharton State Forest last weekend. As we headed out to one of our favorite spots we noticed a few signs that said No Motor Vehicles barring vehicles from driving down into the Mullica River.

There was a sense of relaxation as we turned off Batsto Fireline Road towards Mullica River Beaver Pond and passed one of these signs. Since the sign had been installed earlier in the summer, there were no tire tracks in the sand - just footprints and a single bicycle track.

We saw a big truck pull up to the sign, stop - and then continue on its way. The driver apparently had no interest in a place he or she could not drive into!

The sign worked. We also met a man who spends a great deal of time running in Wharton State Forest. We talked about the absence of trucks and cars from the river bank, and he said "Isn't this great!" He had also seen the signs work in other parts of Wharton this summer and fall.

Unfortunately, DEP management ordered this and other similar signs removed last Thursday, perhaps forever, perhaps just until a final plan is adopted. It's a terrible shame to see the river bank opened up again to those who will abuse this beautiful place.

The Motorized Access Plan is supposed to balance the needs of the users with the needs of the ecosystem, and the needs of motorized vehicle drivers with other forms of recreation.

I hope you will take action today and share this with your friends and family. Wharton and all of New Jersey State Forests are already suffering severe damage.

Yes. The MAP worked as intended. It's keeping law abiding citizens out of areas that they could have safely and responsibly enjoyed. However go look at Quarter Mile - there's fresh tire tracks back there. The people who will go out and willingly destroy fragile wetlands, tear up puddles, and make a nuisance of themselves are not the kinds of people who will care about No Motorized Vehicles signs. They haven't for the past 30+ years - why will they now?

One could surmise that the PPA wants to keep people out of the forests so that they, and a selected few other people, and enjoy the forest privately. Well, I've been exploring the Pine Barrens for the last 15 years, and even with the free for all that has gone on there are plenty of places all throughout the woods where you can find peace and solitude.

Look, it's not about who's got more rights than others, despite how the PPA wants to spin it. We all realize that we have to share the forest. We all realize the need for closures in certain areas. We all realize the need for more enforcement for ANY motorized access plan to work. We all realize that there should be a high quality MAP produced that will show people around the forest.

The people who are against the MAP agree with most of the positions that the PPA has taken. Why is the PPA constantly throwing tantrums instead of joining us at the table with the DEP and other user groups to come up with a FAIR access plan?
 

Pola Galie

New Member
Aug 22, 2015
3
10
70
Medford, NJ
www.lowerforge.com
Make sure you go early. At the stakeholder meeting last night it was revealed that the auditorium will only hold around 1000 people and anyone who comes after it fills up will go to another room with TV access.


Let's see should I wear my Federation blouse or my OpenTrailsNJ tee? I may have to do both! a Federation Sweatshirt over my OTNJ tee. I will definitely make a visual as well as a verbal statement.
 

LittoralAngler

New Member
Oct 26, 2015
1
0
Egg Harbor Twp
I'm just coming up to speed in this forum, but I see the PPA folks as extremists. I've been on board with the Pine Barrens Master Plan since it was enacted, however, we need to balance the need for access with conservation. There are those that desire total preservation and I despise these views that only reflect a limited intellectual understanding of the interaction of man and the environment. On the other side are the diesel jockeys. We need to find a common ground of reasonable people who want to work together to protect the pinelands.

From this forum, I see no reasonable people who advocate protecting the pinelands. Smokejumper seems sometimes rational and other times out there. I am just looking for others who want to protect the pinelands and also balance access. The wackos on both sides turn me off and so far I'm only seeing the PPA as the whackos.
 
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