ORV Management In Sensitive Areas Of Wharton

Broke Jeep Joe

Explorer
Mar 8, 2006
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Waterford Twp
I've been in contact with the DEP over the last couple days seeking clarification of what is going on and I've been asked to try to get information out there about the facts. I'm due to have a follow up phone call where I'll probably have more, but I thought I would at least relay what I've been told so far. I've been told this is not a another implementation of the MAP, but rather an attempt to protect Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA). Granted, the DEP could have have communicated what is going on a lot better, I don't think this is a subversive attempt to reinstitute the MAP on their part. I'm am told that the 12 approved ESA's will be communicated and I'll relay them here as soon as I get them. If this is all we are going to see and there isn't another shoe yet to drop, it doesn't actually seem too bad.... Guy, I've asked for exactly what you have mentioned: provide a list of the ESAs and a reasoning of why they are closed. Also, are they permanent closures, seasonal or only until the area can be repaired. I hope to have these answers in the next day or so.

So now there are 12 areas? thought it was 11?
 

ninemileskid

Explorer
Sep 14, 2014
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"* Note: "environmentally sensitive areas," when used by the Department, refers to a specific environmental factor determined to be relevant to a particular issue, project review, or area of concern. Accordingly, any individual use of the phrase might reference wetlands, endangered plant or animal species or their habitats, rare communities or other factors, which are themselves individually governed by statute, regulation or Department policy."

Can they open that door any wider?
 
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92 Blazer Jeff

Explorer
Aug 24, 2015
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GLASSBORO,NJ
If you are heading on East Stokes Road towards Quaker Bridge.....on your left hand side just before you get to the Railroad crossing is a water filled area visible on satellite imagery, is it a spung, wetlands, or savannah? Or is it part of Springers Brook? I have not been down there in 20+ years and can't remember exactly. I drove down Hampton Gate a few months ago and when I looked down East Stokes the road looked in bad shape....
I know the area you are talking about on the left. Years ago some one drove out in to it and tore it up. That may be why it is closed now.
 

tsqurd

Explorer
Jul 29, 2015
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South Jersey
Not so sure it has to be explained, just declared.
I would hope, after seeing the public's reaction to the MAP, the DEP would be transparent as to their reasoning for closing areas as well as their future plans for each area closed (repair/reopen/permanent closure). If they are not, I think we, the public, have the responsibility to work with our elected representatives to demand that information. After all, the forest belongs to all of us.
 
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ninemileskid

Explorer
Sep 14, 2014
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I would hope, after seeing the public's reaction to the MAP, the DEP would be transparent as to their reasoning for closing areas as well as their future plans for each area closed (repair/reopen/permanent closure). If they are not, I think we, the public, have the responsibility to work with our elected representatives to demand that information. After all, the forest belongs to all of us.
Unfortunately, the way it usually works is that you / we voice concern to our elected reps and they will go to the DEP for answers. You will get a letter saying 'Thank you for your concern with the road closures in Wharton State Forest. Those closures were deemed necessary to protect natural resources OR due to concerns for public health and safety OR the road is scheduled to be repaired and will be re-opened when the work is complete OR yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah.
 

tsqurd

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Jul 29, 2015
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South Jersey
The cynical side of me says you are probably right, but I'm not going to give up - it worked with the initial MAP. If our voices remain loud it might work again.
 
Feb 1, 2016
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Camden County, NJ
So, a few bogs are listed as ESA areas (they should have been no motorized to begin with), and two roads are temporarily closed until they are rebuilt later in 2016. A flat out victory for the motorized access backers. I hope the various groups like OTNJ, Enduro groups, etc continue to communicate to there members how critical it is stay on the roads (and not make there own trails) "tread lightly" and to absolutely respect the ESA as off limits. Understandable previous pushback against PPA and NJCF for there advocacy and misrepresentation of the MAP....well you guys won. Congrats.
 
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ninemileskid

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Sep 14, 2014
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So, a few bogs are listed as ESA areas (they should have been no motorized to begin with), and two roads are temporarily closed until they are rebuilt later in 2016. A flat out victory for the motorized access backers. I hope the various groups like OTNJ, Enduro groups, etc continue to communicate to there members how critical it is stay on the roads (and not make there own trails) "tread lightly" and to absolutely respect the ESA as off limits. Understandable previous pushback against PPA and NJCF for there advocacy and misrepresentation of the MAP....well you guys won. Congrats.
With all due respect "a flat out victory for the motorized access backers" is a little, I don't know, uncalled for. Please keep in mind these comments are SOLEY my own. You can't lump everyone that disagrees with you into one group - motorized access backers - anymore than I can lump you into a group that wants no one to even walk barefoot into Wharton or even say Wharton out loud.
As far as those roads being rebuilt, I read "they will be considered for repair", considered being the key word.
Any new closures will involve the stakeholders, not sure what that means, especially since there are stakeholders on both sides of the issue(s).
It is unfortunate for all that the problems in Wharton are not being addressed by those would have the power to make the changes that are needed. There are no backroom deals to be cut, no favors to grant, no headlines to be made over a patch of pines that can't be dozed and developed.
Our problem is that we can't agree on how to keep this patch of pines healthy, given what those in power offer up for maintenance, enforcement, etc. With more resources I think we'd be a lot closer to a healthy compromise, BUT, resources cost money and the powers that be see fit to spend ours elsewhere. Same old song and dance.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
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Any new closures will involve the stakeholders, not sure what that means, especially since there are stakeholders on both sides of the issue(s).

It was said that as things progress the current stockholders will be ask to come in and hear what they have to say and we can comment or suggest. Pretty straightforward as long as it occurs.
 
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smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,129
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1,093
Atco, NJ
Thanks John,
It shouldn't come as a surprise that these roads are in disrepair.
So, a few bogs are listed as ESA areas (they should have been no motorized to begin with), and two roads are temporarily closed until they are rebuilt later in 2016. A flat out victory for the motorized access backers. I hope the various groups like OTNJ, Enduro groups, etc continue to communicate to there members how critical it is stay on the roads (and not make there own trails) "tread lightly" and to absolutely respect the ESA as off limits. Understandable previous pushback against PPA and NJCF for there advocacy and misrepresentation of the MAP....well you guys won. Congrats.
I would consider it a win only if it works. Unlike the original MAP I believe this has a chance.
 
Feb 1, 2016
273
133
43
49
Camden County, NJ
With all due respect "a flat out victory for the motorized access backers" is a little, I don't know, uncalled for. Please keep in mind these comments are SOLEY my own. You can't lump everyone that disagrees with you into one group - motorized access backers - anymore than I can lump you into a group that wants no one to even walk barefoot into Wharton or even say Wharton out loud.
As far as those roads being rebuilt, I read "they will be considered for repair", considered being the key word.
Any new closures will involve the stakeholders, not sure what that means, especially since there are stakeholders on both sides of the issue(s).
It is unfortunate for all that the problems in Wharton are not being addressed by those would have the power to make the changes that are needed. There are no backroom deals to be cut, no favors to grant, no headlines to be made over a patch of pines that can't be dozed and developed.
Our problem is that we can't agree on how to keep this patch of pines healthy, given what those in power offer up for maintenance, enforcement, etc. With more resources I think we'd be a lot closer to a healthy compromise, BUT, resources cost money and the powers that be see fit to spend ours elsewhere. Same old song and dance.
Just for the sake of clarity...I am in favor of maintaining responsible road access, so in general there is no disagreement with the latest DEP strategy.......my "flat out victory" comment is reflecting that the original MAP, supported by PPA and NJCF and others would have closed 250+ miles of roads/trails but under this new structure none of that will be occurring (with the exception of the two temporarily closed roads). The pro-Map and PPA supporters are "getting" very little other than signs (which will only help in prosecuting folks who are found violating the law, but will do little to stop lawbreakers intent on mudding). The increased emphasis on catching lawbreakers will help, but it is a case of playing "whack-a-mole" with these illegal offroaders who often operate in the middle of the night. I agree funding for maintenance, enforcement and education is woefully inadequate and hopefully that is an area where we can all agree needs to be increased.