ORV Management In Sensitive Areas Of Wharton

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
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Well, to be fair, we know where it was started and pushed from. It was pushed from the people going totally off-road in a wild, care-free manner in large packs as if the place is an amusement park filled with mud holes (all the while slinging empty Bush lite beer cans out the window).
Thanks for the morning chuckle, 'we' know nothing of the sort. That 'Comprehensive Plan' ppa put out is for street legal vehicles, like the one you drive. Are you saying your a 'pusher'? I know myself and others on this site are not.

"The term ORV is all-encompassing of all-terrain vehicles, motorized sportbikes, motorcycles, minibikes, motor scooters, go-carts, swamp buggies, mopeds, snowmobiles and any other motor-driven vehicle which is not authorized to be licensed by the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles for use upon the public highways.

Street Legal Vehicles

ALERT - CLASS I VEHICLES CAUSING DAMAGE IN WHARTON STATE FOREST AND ON OTHER STATE LAND:
ORV Class I Vehicle Plan - 90.4KB
PPA's suggested plan to address Class I Vehicle mis-use."
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
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I see your point, but does every road that is now closed lead to a spot where there's mud holes and ORV damage?
Absolutely not Ben. The Lock's Bridge area is a case in point and is really burning me badly. I am back there at least 15 times a year hunting with or without the dogs or just enjoying the area with my wife.
There is no damage there or along any of the other roads leading down to the Mullica from the main road.
This is insanity.

The attached photo is my son's Plott Hound, Finnley, seen destroying the woods at Lock's Bridge two weeks ago.
 

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46er

Piney
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bobpbx

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Oct 25, 2002
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I see your point, but does every road that is now closed lead to a spot where there's mud holes and ORV damage?
No, it does not. Nor do I agree that these roads should be closed. I'm just pointing to the true root of the problem. They poked the hornets nest long enough, and now we all pay.
 
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smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
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Absolutely not Ben. The Lock's Bridge area is a case in point and is really burning me badly. I am back there at least 15 times a year hunting with or without the dogs or just enjoying the area with my wife.
There is no damage there or along any of the other roads leading down to the Mullica from the main road.
This is insanity.

The attached photo is my son's Plott Hound, Finnley, seen destroying the woods at Lock's Bridge two weeks ago.
That's right. My son does play in the sand there. With his matchbox cars. He must be the one their targeting :confused:
 

SuperChooch

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Aug 26, 2011
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There is going to be a meeting of specific groups concerning this in the future at the auditorium in Batsto.
Guy, do you have any further info on this meeting or do you know how to find out?
 

smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
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Atco, NJ
The justification to close certain roads may not be based on damage but on manpower. If the State can effectively close half the roads in a SF or WMA then they theoretically only need half the manpower to patrol the rest. Half the manpower means half the cost. With them closing the dead ends the public, law enforcement, fire fighters, etc. can still go from one end of the forest to the other. They can tell you those areas are still accessible, that is NOT CLOSED, just closed to motor vehicles. They will produce all the statistics and science to support their actions when you fight it. With less law abiding people accessing those areas the damage that is being done will be less likely to be reported. Less reports of damage equals less damage. Less damage means the State's plan works, AND they were smart enough to do it with HALF the manpower!
Well there are several holes in this theory. First of all closing these areas have zero impact on the targeted people. And if these locations aren't a problem they why is it needed to patrol them in the first place. By closing these locations to motor vehicles does in effect make them off limits to some people. Granted it's a small amount but if this stays the course my mom may have seen some of the places that my father, who passed away years ago, took us to in the 70's for the last time. I always made it a point to take her out once and a while for the memories. As far as my family,my son is getting old enough to be able to do some walking but it definitely will limit the amount of time we can go out since it will take longer just getting out there. Gone are the days that we say that we say "we have an hour or two to kill, let's go for s ride." Now trips have to be more planned. Between the roads that are torn up and what the state is closing my big woods is getting much smaller. Soon a ride in the woods will mean a trip down a sand highway with everyone else:(
 
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imkms

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Feb 18, 2008
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........................... Between the roads that are torn up and what the state is closing my big woods is getting much smaller. Soon a ride in the woods will mean a trip down a sand highway with everyone else:(
That is a very depressing thought! Hopefully it does not become reality.
 

Broke Jeep Joe

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Mar 8, 2006
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I was really having a tough time deciding whether to post on this subject or not because it makes me sick that it has come to this. I feel we outlined our own destiny about 5 years ago when this site was the lightning rod for a similar discussion. I think the general consensus at the time was that there was no way the state could ban vehicular traffic in all of the pine barrens. Guess what? It has begun. They may not have the ability or need to close all roads, but effectively by closing all “non-essential” roads they have done that for the most part. What I mean is we all have our “favorites” that are off the beaten path that will most likely be closed. With that said, it will limit the amount of traffic in Wharton overall as someone has already posted. If you can’t get to your favorite spot without a 10 mile hike, it makes it tough to want to visit. I know a lot of us like to hike but some do not or can’t as was mentioned also. Someone had the idea of organizing to work this out, that was also attempted and failed because each group (hikers, equestrians, motorcyclists, 4x4 clubs, etc.) assumed it didn’t need the others to prevent something like this from happening, strength in numbers folks. Organizing now is too little too late. No offense to anyone, but it amazes me how people want to organize after something limiting happens, no forethought, myself included. We all see the damage when we are out there, we all see Al Horner in just about every publication pines or news related completely documenting each blade of grass out of position, shoot Al even has his own website for the world to see(clever posting coordinates on his part) and do we go and talk to him or the state about the plan? I will speak for myself and say no, not recently. I’m sure some others can join me in that respect. In fact, while on the subject of what have I done, I can say I was involved in several clean-up efforts (whoopee for me, I know!) and I joined the aforementioned organization that fell apart quickly with high hopes of accomplishment between the state, PPA and public with the only accomplishment being the closing of the infamous ¼ mile bog, if you call closure an accomplishment, I for one see it as a defeat. Since then I have always held in the back of my mind the fear of this happening, and here we are with no recourse other than to accept the fact of the matter, the pines will never be the same. Sorry if my ramblings offended anyone, they are not meant to.
 

SuperChooch

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Aug 26, 2011
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I do agree that it is a little late in the game, but one of the things that concerned me is the lack of communication. How could we have worked out something we didn't know was coming? (I mean really knew was coming). I know Al a bit and I don't think this is even what he would want. After all, he makes his living off of the pines, how do you think he gets his photography classes out there?

In regards to organizing, one difference between then and now is that we all really do need each other now, this is probably one topic we can all agree on. I sent a couple notes to a couple 4x4 clubs to get their thoughts too.
 
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46er

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Gave this some thought today while trapping chipmunks. It seems to me the easy way out was taken with no thought given to alternatives. Usually, before an action as large as this is taken, an agency will provide for a public comment period; as far as I know that didn't happen. I see little difference in this issue and the way beach driving has been addressed by the state and shore towns up and down the coast, and it works. The Wharton super is aware of this as he was the asst super at one such park. For beach driving, a permit is required, the state and different municipalities up and down the coast charge a fee for it, but that need not be the case in Wharton. All that should be needed is to apply for a permit for the roads in question and have the vehicle to be used checked out, just like is done for the beach permit, and if it meets the requirements, mostly safety, a permit is issued. The permit gets stuck on the vehicle and off you go, they are not removable without damaging them. If an unpermitted vehicle is found on those roads, they get to pay the fine. If an unpermitted needs to get unstuck, the tow company gets the driver info and reports it or it doesn't do business in Wharton anymore. It is just as easy to get on a beach as it is to get onto the sand roads of Wharton, and just as much, perhaps more, damage can be done. But I guess its easier to just print up some signs and staple them on tree's.
 

woodjin

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Nov 8, 2004
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Gave this some thought today while trapping chipmunks. It seems to me the easy way out was taken with no thought given to alternatives. Usually, before an action as large as this is taken, an agency will provide for a public comment period; as far as I know that didn't happen. I see little difference in this issue and the way beach driving has been addressed by the state and shore towns up and down the coast, and it works. The Wharton super is aware of this as he was the asst super at one such park. For beach driving, a permit is required, the state and different municipalities up and down the coast charge a fee for it, but that need not be the case in Wharton. All that should be needed is to apply for a permit for the roads in question and have the vehicle to be used checked out, just like is done for the beach permit, and if it meets the requirements, mostly safety, a permit is issued. The permit gets stuck on the vehicle and off you go, they are not removable without damaging them. If an unpermitted vehicle is found on those roads, they get to pay the fine. If an unpermitted needs to get unstuck, the tow company gets the driver info and reports it or it doesn't do business in Wharton anymore. It is just as easy to get on a beach as it is to get onto the sand roads of Wharton, and just as much, perhaps more, damage can be done. But I guess its easier to just print up some signs and staple them on tree's.
Actually 46er, that plan had crossed my mind before also. I had hoped that the state would adopt a permit based plan for the state forests before such dramatic closures. Of course, the main throughways could remain open for the general public. Accountability would improve dramatically, thereby allowing access for kayakers, canoes, fishman, hunters, etc. and exclude the mudders and people who mistakenly take vehicles into the forest that are not capable of handing the terrian (city folk). I have to admit I am very surprised that avenue was not pursued (that I know of) I would be curious if it was ever a consideration.
 
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Broke Jeep Joe

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Chooch,


When the “group” was started 5-6 years ago the attempt was to prevent this exact thing, closure, it failed from the start as the first action the group took was closure and nothing further. We needed each other then also, maybe the right people weren’t in place, I don’t know. As far as Al is concerned, this is one of those “be careful what you wish for” moments that he will need to deal with as far as his loss of revenue and personal freedom just like everyone else. As far as the 4x4 clubs you polled I’m curious of their response. The lack of communication from the state on this is concerning but not surprising, decisions like this are made all the time for the supposed greater good of the public without public input or knowledge
 
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Pinesbucks

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Apr 15, 2013
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This is hasn't been sitting right with me all day so i decided to call and find out what is going on and how to approach next. They are getting maps made of areas affected to distribute to people . The superintendent was not in today so I am awaiting a call back from him as I would like to find out more information and to see how we can oppose this the proper way.
 

Broke Jeep Joe

Explorer
Mar 8, 2006
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Waterford Twp
Not to sound super negative, but we can probably organize the entire state, won't change a thing, closed is closed. Hope I'm wrong.

Pinesbucks, please let us know about your conversation if it happens and I would imagine the maps would be made available at the Atsion station and the Batsto visitor's center?
 

Boyd

Super Moderator
Staff member
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Jul 31, 2004
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I see little difference in this issue and the way beach driving has been addressed by the state and shore towns up and down the coast, and it works.
Maryland has a permit requirement for the roads in their state forests, I noticed (and ignored... LOL) the signs when I was down there a few years ago: http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/orv.aspx

Off-road vehicles must be registered annually with DNR and display a registration sticker. Snowmobile and other ORV riders may purchase their off-road vehicle (ORV) permit online at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal. The ORV permit is effective immediately and may be printed by the customer to carry with them while riding. The official permit decal will arrive in the mail shortly thereafter and must be affixed to the ORV.
Almost everything is an "off road vehicle" in their definition…

Off-road vehicles include a four-wheel drive or low pressure tire vehicle; an automobile; a truck; a motorcycle and related two-wheel vehicles; an amphibious machine; a ground effect or air cushion vehicle; a snowmobile; and a golf cart.
 

SuperChooch

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I did hear back from the superintendent today. He mentioned the same thing about the maps and also said there would be a forum for public input. I'm at work so haven't responded yet, but my plan was to point out the obvious issue of the fact that they implemented before asking for public input as well as summarize the concerns that folks have expressed here. I also planned on mentioning some of the ideas discussed here, especially the idea of the cameras similar to this in use for dumping as well as the "beach permit" idea. I also plan to ask him how we will find out about the public forums.
 

popeofthepines

Explorer
Mar 8, 2006
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Atco
I too, am concerned with the lack of communication with the general public, concerning these sudden closures of what I believed to be public owned lands. I understand the biosphere that is the NJ Pine Barrens, so I tread lightly and respectfully. I don't post here much but it does not mean I don't love the pines and what it has to offer visually. There was a discussion before about making the pines a permit driving area when we were speculating how to address the people who were tearing up the areas in question (mostly quarter mile bog). That was a discussion from a few years ago. There was a discussion about marking different trails with associated colors to determine skill level I believe?, and that was a few years ago too. we knew this was coming with state cutbacks and people continuing to treat the Pines as a free ORV park. We need to figure out how to get a plan together to combat this. So hopefully pinebucks will hear from someone who can shed some light on this subject. It is an unfortunate avenue we are taking and being punished for the small population who abuse and misuse the Pines.
 
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popeofthepines

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Mar 8, 2006
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Atco
I did hear back from the superintendent today. He mentioned the same thing about the maps and also said there would be a forum for public input. I'm at work so haven't responded yet, but my plan was to point out the obvious issue of the fact that they implemented before asking for public input as well as summarize the concerns that folks have expressed here. I also planned on mentioning some of the ideas discussed here, especially the idea of the cameras similar to this in use for dumping as well as the "beach permit" idea. I also plan to ask him how we will find out about the public forums.
No mention of when that public forum would be though?
 

Ben Ruset

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I think the "public forum" is just a token action. The decision to close these roads was very likely made with very little input from anybody and without any thought given to how this would affect the recreational use of public land.

I really wish we knew the history and the timeline of this action. Seeing the PPA's stance on Class 1 ORV's it makes me feel like they have a hand in it.

Oh, and hey, and while they're busy protecting the land from law abiding people a massive pipeline will likely be built in the pines.