NJ Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan

G. Russell Juelg

Explorer
Jul 31, 2006
284
51
Burlington County
Anybody familiar with the regulations regarding motorized recreation in the Pinelands? I read some stuff in the CMP, but then I wonder if there's any actual compliance or enforcement. Not sure what to make of it...
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
25,783
8,427
I would think you would know more about that than most of us.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
25,783
8,427
To be honest I don't even understand what that means. All I care about is when I want to go there I go there. I don't damage anything and I don't drive in wetlands. Nobody should. And for those that have legal vehicles and respect the place ...... I say go for it.
 

G. Russell Juelg

Explorer
Jul 31, 2006
284
51
Burlington County
To be honest I don't even understand what that means. All I care about is when I want to go there I go there. I don't damage anything and I don't drive in wetlands. Nobody should. And for those that have legal vehicles and respect the place ...... I say go for it.
So the issue is that when you go "there" are you going "there" in accordance with the legal constraints. What, exactly, are the legal constraints?
 

G. Russell Juelg

Explorer
Jul 31, 2006
284
51
Burlington County
Motor Vehicle Laws of the State
of New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 39-1
Yes, but what do you find specific to the CMP? For example, I have been hearing for a long time that the Enduro events are specifically endorsed in the CMP, but I just heard the other day that's not true at all. Not that I'm opposed to Enduro events--assuming they are conducted appropriately. I just wonder how the rumor got started, if, in fact, it isn't fact-based.

Also, if you read Part 13, beginning on page 429, you find some extraordinarily restrictive language on motor vehicle use. Some have argued that the situation is similar to regulations restricting landscaping practices. That is, the CMP imposes the restrictions, but it declines to engage in any meaningful forms of enforcement, because the state legislature declined to give it the power to impose fines on offenders. Thus, the Pinelands Commission's only enforcement power is to file a lawsuit against the offender--which, of course, is generally cost-prohibitive. Thus the Commission shifts the burden of enforcement to the various townships. The townships, in turn, are generally unwilling to enforce against their residents, even though the residents are in violation of the township ordinances (which are consistent with the CMP).

In the case of these motor vehicle violations, the Commission shifts the burden of enforcement to the DEP, which is treated as if it is the "owner" of the state forest. The DEP, in turn, has been almost entirely negligent in its responsibility to enforce, which has sent the signal to the violators that they can get away with just about anything. Now, it seems, the DEP leadership realizes that it has cultivated a subset of users who believe they are immune to prosecution, and who get worse and worse every year, so it is seeking a way to reverse the course.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
25,783
8,427
In the case of these motor vehicle violations, the Commission shifts the burden of enforcement to the DEP, which is treated as if it is the "owner" of the state forest. The DEP, in turn, has been almost entirely negligent in its responsibility to enforce, which has sent the signal to the violators that they can get away with just about anything. Now, it seems, the DEP leadership realizes that it has cultivated a subset of users who believe they are immune to prosecution, and who get worse and worse every year, so it is seeking a way to reverse the course.

The enforcement issue is as you say the problem. But unless the Park Police get money they can't be everywhere. And the vehicles they have just don't cut it. I would not want to be them having to try and get to some of these locations having to deal with the complaints from superiors when they damage the vehicle. And unless there were 3 or more at a location it is just not safe for them to confront groups of individuals anymore.
 
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G. Russell Juelg

Explorer
Jul 31, 2006
284
51
Burlington County
The enforcement issue is as you say the problem. But unless the Park Police get money they can't be everywhere. And the vehicles they have just don't cut it. I would not want to be them having to try and get to some of these locations having to deal with the complaints from superiors when they damage the vehicle. And unless there were 3 or more at a location it is just not safe for them to confront groups of individuals anymore.
I support the State Park Police, and I definitely agree that some of the problems you cite apply sometimes, and in some situations. Their ability to enforce would certainly be enhanced if they had better funding, but I think we should all encourage them to enforce more strictly using the resources currently available, while we also work to get them more resources, which is a primary goal of #FixOurParksNJ.

In my experience, too many cops have been letting violators off with mere verbal warnings too routinely. This appears to be due to the fact that too many law enforcement officers are themselves engaged in illegal riding, or they have friends or family who are engaged in it. It could also be that too many law enforcement officers just don't see the illegal riding as such a bad thing. They aren't well-versed in ecological facts.

Better funding would also help them get vehicles they can use to get to some of the more remote places. But again, there are still hundreds of places where they can conduct enforcement operations with the vehicles they have. Anyone can see that more and more illegal dirt bike trails are crossing established roads.

As for whether or not they can safely enforce, I certainly wouldn't want an officer to confront a situation where the officer doesn't have sufficient back-up. On the other hand, these guys are and armed and trained to confront all kinds of outlaws. I sincerely doubt they are afraid to confront small groups of riders.
 

smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,554
1,082
Atco, NJ
In my experience, too many cops have been letting violators off with mere verbal warnings too routinely. This appears to be due to the fact that too many law enforcement officers are themselves engaged in illegal riding, or they have friends or family who are engaged in it. It could also be that too many law enforcement officers just don't see the illegal riding as such a bad thing. They aren't well-versed in ecological facts.
Well, that’s a pretty bold statement. What’s your plan to adress that?
 
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G. Russell Juelg

Explorer
Jul 31, 2006
284
51
Burlington County
I have to ask Russ, since I'm familiar with the problems of unregistered riders at the Candace Ashmun Preserve. What does NJCF do about that situation?
We've tried a lot of things. Barriers, plantings, signs, calls to police. We've spent thousands of dollars trying any and every common-sense measure we can think of.
 

G. Russell Juelg

Explorer
Jul 31, 2006
284
51
Burlington County
Anybody familiar with the regulations regarding motorized recreation in the Pinelands? I read some stuff in the CMP, but then I wonder if there's any actual compliance or enforcement. Not sure what to make of it...
The problem I'm having is with the interpretation of the CMP. It says:

7:50-6.143 General requirements (a) All recreational facilities in the Pinelands shall comply with the following requirements: 1. No power vessel in excess of 10 horsepower shall operate on waters of the State within the Pinelands Area except on: i. That portion of the Mullica River downstream from Burlington County Route 542; and ii. That portion of the Wading River downstream from its confluence with the Oswego River; and iii.That portion of the Great Egg Harbor River downstream from its confluence with Mare Run. 2. No motor vehicle other than fire, police or emergency vehicles or those vehicles used for the administration or maintenance of any public land shall be operated upon publicly owned land within the Pinelands. Other motor vehicles may operate on public lands for recreational purposes on public highways and areas on land designated prior to August 8, 1980 for such use by state and local governmental entities until designated as inappropriate for such use under (a)3 below. 3. The Commission shall from time to time designate areas which are inappropriate for use of motor vehicles. Such designation shall be based upon the following considerations and upon consultation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and other interested persons: i. A need to protect a scientific study area; ii. A need to protect the location of threatened or endangered plant or animal species; iii. A need to provide a wilderness recreational area; iv. A need to prevent conflicts with adjoining intensively used recreational areas; v. A need to protect historic or archaeological sites; vi. A need to protect critical wildlife habitats; vii. A need to address a situation of public health and safety; viii. A need to protect extensively disturbed areas from further impact; and ix. The extent to which such road closure would substantially impair recreation access to and uses of surrounding resources. 4. Route maps for organized off-road vehicle events shall be filed with and approved by the Executive Director.

Aside from the restrictions on motor boats, I can't figure out exactly what this requires of the Pinelands Commission, and to what extent the DEP is legally required to do anything.
 
Apr 6, 2004
3,619
564
Galloway
Hmmmm

"No motor vehicle other than fire, police or emergency vehicles or those vehicles used for the administration or maintenance of any public land shall be operated upon publicly owned land within the Pinelands."

"Other motor vehicles may operate on public lands for recreational purposes on public highways and areas on land designated prior to August 8, 1980 for such use by state and local governmental entities until designated as inappropriate for such use.."

Aren't these statements contradictory?

What exactly was designated as public highways and areas on land upon which vehicles can be operated recreationally?
 

Scroggy

Scout
Jul 5, 2022
80
112
Delaware
I think NJ Rev Stat § 39:3C-33 (2022) may be helpful here:

https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2022/title-39/section-39-3c-33/

39:3C is otherwise exclusively about off-road vehicles, but this provides the schedule of fines for operating any vehicle ("street-legal" or ORV) on "public lands", which are rather broadly defined (see https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2022/title-39/section-39-3c-32/).

39:3C-27 says that "every law enforcement officer in the state...shall enforce [39:3C-1 et seq.]...within their respective jurisdictions". https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2022/title-39/section-39-3c-27/
 
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