ORV Management In Sensitive Areas Of Wharton

Jon Holcombe

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On Saturday evening I saw two Park Police a mile in Quaker Bridge Road, and one cruised down Mullica River Road and onto Middle Road. On Sunday I was happy to see a Park Police vehicle cruising down Sandy Causeway from Atsion Rd by Goshen Pond. Just before this, I also saw a Jeep stuck on Batsto-Fireline Rd in a huge mud puddle. Instead of using the go around he tried to go through the mud, got stuck on a near 45 degree angle, and while someone bounced up and down on the sideboard, he gunned the engine, making a bigger hole in the mud, and sinking his jeep in deeper. Batso-Fireline Rd-Railroad Ave were (even with MAPS) and are, "legal" roads. I rolled down my window and told them if I thought I could help I would, but I would just make things worse. They were polite, smiled and waved to me. These were young men, nice kids, but they are in fact, tearing up the road, making that particular "legal" stretch impassable. Unless you use the go-around, which in time, will also get torn up. Unless the DEP / Wharton Forest guys fix every road every year, what is the solution here? I am certainly not a "tree hugger", and I am not a "4 wheeler", just someone who wants to use the roads in the forest in a sensible way.
 
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Broke Jeep Joe

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On Saturday evening I saw two Park Police a mile in Quaker Bridge Road, and one cruised down Mullica River Road and onto Middle Road. On Sunday I was happy to see a Park Police vehicle cruising down Sandy Causeway from Atsion Rd by Goshen Pond. Just before this, I also saw a Jeep stuck on Batsto-Fireline Rd in a huge mud puddle. Instead of using the go around he tried to go through the mud, got stuck on a near 45 degree angle, and while someone bounced up and down on the sideboard, he gunned the engine, making a bigger hole in the mud, and sinking his jeep in deeper. Batso-Fireline Rd-Railroad Ave were (even with MAPS) and are, "legal" roads. I rolled down my window and told them if I thought I could help I would, but I would just make things worse. They were polite, smiled and waved to me. These were young men, nice kids, but they are in fact, tearing up the road, making that particular "legal" stretch impassable. Unless you use the go-around, which in time, will also get torn up. Unless the DEP / Wharton Forest guys fix every road every year, what is the solution here? I am certainly not a "tree hugger", and I am not a "4 wheeler", just someone who wants to use the roads in the forest in a sensible way.
Maybe they were unfamiliar with the road to begin with and fell victim to someone else's stuck? What would your suggestion of a solution be in this case? There is a viable go around, however using it could be considered going off the main trail in some folks eyes. I do believe the original MAP proposal advocated closing of any road that had a "go round" of which the majority of roads out there have them, or it was a discussion at a town meeting, I don't recall but it was a topic discussed somewhere.
 

Jon Holcombe

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Maybe they were unfamiliar with the road to begin with and fell victim to someone else's stuck? What would your suggestion of a solution be in this case? There is a viable go around, however using it could be considered going off the main trail in some folks eyes.
Joe, they may have been unfamiliar with the road. The mud puddle was gigantic and the go-around was right there. They had a jeep, they intended to use it as Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker intended. To blast through the puddle. I was a kid too. My point is, if the roads were bulldozed every year, the 4 x 4's could have fun, and the polite all-wheel drive guys (me), could get to where they are going. I don't want to prevent anyone from having fun, but I would like to be able to drive to remote areas without being turned back (as I was on Railroad Ave) by huge puddles that are certainly made worse by kids in jeeps. To me, it's a matter of money, not enforcement. Unlike the PPA, I'm not demonizing anyone. But I see the obvious effects that hard driving has on these sand roads. Maybe buying a yearly access sticker is the solution.
 

Jon Holcombe

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So guys without all wheel drive are impolite? and I buy and access sticker every year when I pay my taxes thank you
I mean that I drive politely through the woods. I don;'t do doughnuts, drive through mud holes fast, up hills , through spungs, etc. And I didn't say that you did either. But if you think your taxes pay to fix the roads in Wharton you aren't driving through Wharton. Every road has multiple go-arounds, ruts, potholes, and sometimes major impassable mudholes. My point is I would like to find a solution. If the current compromise solves the problem, that would be great. But it doesn't sound like there will be enough money to pay for all the repairs needed. There is too much intransigence on the side of the PPA and guys with 4 x 4's seem to take it personally every time someone points out what is obvious to anyone who drives through the forest, that the roads are being torn up. If I had to pay $100 per year for a Wharton Access Sticker and that fixes the roads, then I would pay the money.
 
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Broke Jeep Joe

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I mean that I drive politely through the woods. I don;'t do doughnuts, drive through mud holes fast, up hills , through spungs, etc. And I didn't say that you did either. And if you think your taxes pay to fix the roads in Wharton you aren't driving through Wharton. Every road has multiple go-arounds, ruts, potholes, and sometimes major impassable mudholes. My point is I would like to find a solution. If the current compromise solves the problem, that would be great. But it doesn't sound like there will be enough money to pay for all the repairs needed. There is too much intransigence on the side of the PPA and guys with 4 x 4's seem to take it personally every time someone points out what is obvious to anyone who drives through the forest, that the roads are being torn up. If I had to pay $100 per year for a Wharton Access Sticker and that fixes the roads, then I would pay the money.
I never said taxes pay to specifically fix Wharton roads. My point is I am a taxpaying citizen that already pays too much to access public land. Also if you would have read my post you would have seen where I said the majority of the roads out there have a go around of some sort. I spend more time in the pines in general than a lot of folks, I live there, hunt there, hike there, drive there etc. I do agree the PPA has way too much influence on the current mgt. of the forest in general. As far as paying for a permit to access public lands, as I said I do so in taxes and in the hunting licences I purchase every year. how does one drive politely anyway? Left pinky extended ? :)
 

46er

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http://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/p/dep-promises-more-protections-for-wharton-state-forest/1501734?cid=656938

and as always, negativity from the PPA. :rolleyes:

A web posting by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance doubted the DEP would be successful in curtailing the damage to the environmentally-challenged state park. “The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has begun to implement a few changes to their enforcement tactics to address off-road vehicle destruction in Wharton State Forest. These new changes include a small increase in fines $250 to $900 if vehicle impoundment is required and designating officers specifically to Wharton State Forest instead of being assigned regionally. However, there has been no increase of officers on patrol at any given time, which implies that officers still will be unable to effectively cover the hundreds of miles of roads left open by the DEP.”
 
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Jon Holcombe

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Joe, Railroad Ave is essentially imapassable unless people use the go-arounds. So the solution is what... buy a swamp buggy with giant wheels and a snorkel to ride through the pines? Maybe one solution would be that hunters should get a sticker (since they've already paid), and "polite" drivers like me should have to buy one. Or maybe the current plan will solve the problem.
 
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popeofthepines

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Joe, Railroad Ave is essentially imapassable unless people use the go-arounds. So the solution is what... buy a swamp buggy with giant wheels and a snorkel to ride through the pines? Maybe hunters should get a sticker, and "polite" drivers like me should have to buy one. Or maybe the current plan will solve the problem.
So anyone with a 4wd vehicle should 'pay to play'? I am not a hunter but use the roads responsible. Lumping us as a single minded entity is not fair. I have seen 2 wd drive cars make it through Quaker and Hampton. I saw a 90s camaro come out of Quaker onto the Washington Turnpike. I know this is not road you and Joe are discussing but I think deductive reasoning and skill have more to do with making it down the roads. A snorkel and some mud tires may help but I don't use them because I know my vehicles limits. I think you forgot a word in your sentence btw
 
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Broke Jeep Joe

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Joe, Railroad Ave is essentially imapassable unless people use the go-arounds. So the solution is what... buy a swamp buggy with giant wheels and a snorkel to ride through the pines? Maybe hunters should get a sticker, and "polite" drivers like me should have to buy one. Or maybe the current plan will solve the problem.
Jon,
I think you are missing my point, There are many roads out there comparable to Batsto-Fireline that are impassable without go-arounds. I know that road very well. I use the go arounds myself and am consideralby ticked off when I can't get to where I want to go on my intended route, my point is the way you are stereotyping people and lumping them into one group as if everyone in a Jeep vehicle is out to destroy the world. We have beaten that topic to death on this site before you came along. I don't event own a Jeep anymore and I cant stand when people generalize Jeeps and their owners as evil. It would be the same if I said everyone that drives a Subaru Outback is a radical environmentalist that wants to put the entire pine barrens into a snow globe bubble. You could say the proof is in the evidence with the videos and pics etc portraying Jeepers and their vehicles in a destructive manner, but I can find just as many Ford, Chevy or Toyota pics of the same type.
 

Jon Holcombe

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Jon,
I think you are missing my point, There are many roads out there comparable to Batsto-Fireline that are impassable without go-arounds. I know that road very well. I use the go arounds myself and am consideralby ticked off when I can't get to where I want to go on my intended route, my point is the way you are stereotyping people and lumping them into one group as if everyone in a Jeep vehicle is out to destroy the world. We have beaten that topic to death on this site before you came along. I don't event own a Jeep anymore and I cant stand when people generalize Jeeps and their owners as evil. It would be the same if I said everyone that drives a Subaru Outback is a radical environmentalist that wants to put the entire pine barrens into a snow globe bubble. You could say the proof is in the evidence with the videos and pics etc portraying Jeepers and their vehicles in a destructive manner, but I can find just as many Ford, Chevy or Toyota pics of the same type.
I am new here, and newer than you to Wharton, so I defer to your experience. I am tempted to argue Honda Civics vs. Jeeps but... I give! However, I assume that we can agree that the roads are screwed, it would be nice to have them fixed, and we don't want them closed. How that happens remains to be seen. And to POTP, I didn't say 4wd should pay, I said MAYBE everyone should pay (except hunters!).
 

smoke_jumper

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Jon, I know you're relatively new here. There is 70 pages on this thread alone about this topic and just about everything has been covered multiple times. Going and reading some you will get an idea of where everybody stands here (most of us fall somewhere in the middle).
I just want to point out the there is no way all the roads can be maintained year round That particular hole was bone dry in September and in a few weeks when the cranberry growers start draining their bogs even the go around will be flooded.
 
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woodjin

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Jon,
Somewhat echoing Smoke Jumper's comment... The idea that the miles and miles of roads in Wharton could be maintained like they might in a small developed park is an unrealistic expectation. The amount of manpower needed to pull something like that off is way beyond the potential of even a well funded maintenance crew. Before the state purchased the land and it was still part of the Wharton estate the roads were dramatically worse (i know this from written accounts).

I would argue that nature itself is tougher on the roads than the vehicles (except those areas specifically targeted by monster trucks). Rain, flooding, downed trees are constants. It is a situation that just needs to be taken for what it is..a fact that these situations are unavoidable. Eventually the maintenance crew will repair the road but in the mean time you might have to find an alternate route, or get your self some recovery equipment. I have pulled trees out of the way with chains and pulled jeeps, etc, out as well.

Much of the road improvements that were carried out at a large expense recently are already deteriorating from just rain and washouts. Personally, i would like to see those funds applied specifically to areas like you came across recently than long stretches of road. I appreciate that you are relatively new and I hope this perspective clarifies some things.
 

Jon Holcombe

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I know there are some folks who will disagree with this, but I think it makes sense to put limits on the size and/or types of tires used in the woods. When reaching a deep puddle, most vehicles will be forced to turn around (no big deal in most cases). But trucks with huge mud lugger tires can probably make it thru and in doing so only make the hole deeper and further destroying the road. I remember when chains were often used in the winter around here, but due to the damage they can do to the roads they were banned. Seems like the same approach should apply here.
I will defer to the more experienced members. But did I not just read you agreeing with the statement above on another thread, which is pretty close to my original post? And is the concept of a Wharton Sticker not being discussed on this forum? And did they not just approve a larger maintenaince budget for Wharton? You guys are so busy agreeing with each other I'm not sure anyone read my original post.
 

Jon Holcombe

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Jon, I know you're relatively new here. There is 70 pages on this thread alone about this topic and just about everything has been covered multiple times. Going and reading some you will get an idea of where everybody stands here (most of us fall somewhere in the middle).
I just want to point out the there is no way all the roads can be maintained year round That particular hole was bone dry in September and in a few weeks when the cranberry growers start draining their bogs even the go around will be flooded.
There is a go around there. Because the cranberry growers flood the road once a year, or because that giant hole is a problem? I admit I don't know how fast it takes to create a go around. One season? Five years? I am willing to be schooled. But a saw a Jeep dig the hole two feet deeper. Not a Honda Civic. it appears just mentioning 4wheel conjures the spector of the PPA. A guy from the PPA invited me to discuss things offline and I wouldn't. I'd rather stay here and learn, because I respect the obvious expertise on this forum.
 
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