No more fun in the Pines

Ben Ruset

Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
Eatontown, NJ
According to what I have heard, most rangers now are more "law" types, rather than "nature" types.

I have been VERY fortunate to not have to deal with rangers in any adverse situation (besides what was my own fault) but then again stories like these are another reason that I avoid going into Wharton like the plague.

Jeff, you could bet that I'd be taking pictures of the rangers vehicle and the plants that he destroyed and make a HUGE deal out of that. The rangers need to use common sense. Wetlands? Hah! I would have had the USGS map in with me, and would have challenged them to provide some sort of legal designation that the area in question was in fact wetlands.

I bet that there's some sort of quota system put in place by Bradley Campbell now. Rangers must find X number of nature desicrating, beer drinking, rabble rousers or else forfeit a bonus or something.

Considering how contemptable Commissioner Campbell is, it would not suprise me at all.


Feb 19, 2003
Merchantville, NJ
woodjin said:
Incidently, when leaving the area, he avoided the sand and water I drove through and plowed right through a stand of leather leaf and pickeral weed.
I wonder if it was the same Ranger that gave Kendawg and I a ticket a couple of years ago. We had pulled into the driveway of a state owned house (that means we own it, right?) on Bulltown Rd. We were out of the car and taking pictures when he pulled up onto the lawn. He gave us a ticket for trespassing and said we were destroying the property by being there.



Super Moderator
Staff member
Jul 31, 2004
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Geez, these stories make me paranoid! As I said before, I've driven and hiked all over the pines for 12 years and have never experienced any more than a friendly wave from a ranger. But I just drive a car and not a 4WD vehicle. It sounds like they have some prejudice again them.

I know this may not be a popular sentiment, but anything which discourages people from tearing up the roads with some of these big monsters can't be all bad. I'm sure none of you guys do that sort of thing, but somebody sure does. And somebody dumps a lot of trash and beer cans in the woods too.

Of course things like a $360 fine for pulling off to the side of the road are outrageous. But it sounds like you also learned how futile it can be to "fight city hall." I don't know whether there is an easy answer to this. I suppose I'm lucky that my car just can't go into places they might consider off limits.


Nov 8, 2004
Near Mt. Misery
Yes, I most certainly did learn that you cannot fight city hall. I understand the need for laws on this matter to discourage reckless disregard of the land but it is unfortunite that the law cannot differenciate between what is truly harmful and what is not. This is the great flaw of laws in general (but what can you do). The biggest problem is that, if those enforcing the laws can't understand the difference, then we are all in trouble.

This incident took place in Whites Bog. I don't know if the rangers are traded back and forth between the state forests, so I don't know if this could be the same guy that Steve had a run in with. I have meet a few rangers that seemed a bit more laid back (example: the Harrisville trip). I guess it all comes down to the personality of the ranger.


Feb 16, 2005
Egg Harbor
The problem with the rangers is this IMO, they don't fall under the direction of the superintendant of parks anymore. They aren't hired from a ranger exam as they used to be, for the sake of simplicity they are taken from the general law enforcement list now. Most guys that come in are just trying to get their foot in the door and then move onto a municipality department. And most importantly there aren't any old timers to teach these guys how it is supposed to be done anymore. In other words no one to "cool them down" after they graduate from Sea Girt. Its ridiculous either way.


Jun 16, 2003
Boston, MA

Well, I had typed up a huge message about my experiences in the Pine Barrens with rangers only to have my browser close on me. The long and short of it is, I consider myself an environmentalist along with my friends and we have never done any harm to the woods. We have certain areas where we pick up trash and deposit it in our own garbage at our houses (because there's no where to legally put the litter you clean up in the woods). Yet, we refuse to camp in designated areas with the people who bring enough modern conveniences to live for years in the woods. We've been fined for camping illegally, hasn't stopped us. I'm not trying to portray myself and my friends as rebels, but it's clearly an example of the rediculousness of these laws that punish and restrict the freedom of many good citizens in light of a few bad apples.

The reason I decided to type up another response (let's hope I don't close my browser again this time :)) was that on Sunday, we were swimming at Constable Bridge near Batsto. Some guy in a trailer got stuck. Guess who pulls up? The same ranger that gave me and 7 other friends $144 worth of tickets each for camping illegally and having a few bottles of wine. He was (is) an extremely arrogant man (when he poured out our bottle of wine, he said "Gee this looks expensive" . . .). We're trying to help this guy out of the sand, the ranger just sits in his explorer, not really saying anything. Finally he gets out and makes the following choice comments:

1) "Why don't you guys get over here to help him out?" (while he looked on from his truck).

2) "Yep, that tire looks pretty deep." (while he looked on from just outside his truck)

3) "Well, I better get out of here before I have to do more work." (cue ranger exit)

Let's just say we gave this guy a second chance (that's a good policy on judging all people) but he failed miserably.

Rangers have the best jobs in the world. It's a shame that a few ruin it for the whole bunch because I know there are a few good ones out there. I just haven't run into many yet :).




Mar 7, 2004
I am blown away. I have never had a problem with a ranger in the years I have been back there. I get friendly waves, even stops for conversation. We camped a few years back and a word was never said to us about beer drinking. I even remember one of them retorting that, they wish they could have one. This was 7 years ago when we drank back there. And they saw us with our trash bags. I would never imagine getting ticketed or the such for just driving back there either. But then again, I am not out ripping apart bad roads. I dont know...seems very odd to me.

Apr 6, 2004
I don't know, rblanda.

Maybe somebody is listening. Your "No camping. Flood?" thread might have something to do with your recent experiences of harassment from the rangers.

I'm glad someone has the courage to speak up.


Feb 19, 2003
Merchantville, NJ
Yep, sure enough, while camping at Geodfry's Bridge this weekend with some friends, we got a visit by a ranger at about 10:45pm on Friday night. Now I have no idea where he got it but one of my friends got caught with a beer in his hand. He tried to hide it and was a little less than honest when questioned about it and this seemed to irritate the ranger. She gave him a ticket for the alcohol but no one else. Not that WE would have anything to get ticketed for.
What a shame because it will probably be our last camping trip in NJ. Campers get more respect in PA, NY, DE and MD.


wis bang

Jun 24, 2004
East Windsor
During college we used to camp at Round Valley at the prmitive sites across from the day area. Since we were only allowed (2) parked cars per site we'd get around 10 sites and have 20 - 30 campers who would congregate in one site. Aroudn 10 PM you'd hear the ranger's boat roar out into the middle of the lake & stop...they'd listen to find the loudest group of campers [us] and come ashore quietly and give us a lecture about noise and beer drinking. Then they'd confiscate 1 or 2 six packs depending on how many were on duty that night & they would motor back out in the lake to consume the beer...Must have been 'the good ole days'...