Parks, Forests, WMAs open only for passive recreation

lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
335
209
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Bass River State Forest
In case you didn't see it, today DEP closed all campgrounds, visitor centers, nature centers, restrooms, etc. All existing camping reservations have been canceled, with refunds. Roads, parking areas, trails, lakes, and other open spaces are open for passive recreation only.

This applies to all state parks, forests, recreation areas, and wildlife management areas. (Except I thought WMAs only ever allowed passive recreation.)


Passive recreation means activities that require little or no infrastructure. Camping and swimming aren't. Hiking, walking, bike riding are.
 

The Wick

Scout
Mar 6, 2016
84
32
18
Forked River
I have been taking my kids out everyday to walk in the woods out in Greenwood WMA. They are going stir crazy doing computer based classwork all day long. I figured there would be less people walking around out there. Honestly I have not seen much activity in the woods. Perhaps people are just staying home?
 
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lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
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Bass River State Forest
I'm doing some trail maintenance tomorrow (Friday), which means moving very slowly along the trail, so anyone else on the trail is sure to pass me. I'll see how many do. I hope people aren't staying home because they are afraid to be outside. I agree with the "healthful passive recreation" part. Being outside is good for you. Maybe people are staying away because the parks and forests' restrooms are closed?

I wonder what is the proper protocol when approaching someone hiking the other way on a narrow trail. Who walks into the brush to maintain 6' of 'social distancing'? Does it work like 2 jeeps approaching on a narrow sand road - which one has to back up to where the road is wide enough to pass?
 

lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
335
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Bass River State Forest
I was trimming a trail today for about 4-5 hours in a small area and nobody passed me. I did see 3 people - 2 women walking their dogs, and another woman runner - but they were on sand roads that aren't part of the marked trail. Not much to go on, but it does seem like fewer people are out. Maybe they are 'working' at home.
 
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GermanG

Piney
Apr 2, 2005
1,038
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Little Egg Harbor
Wells Mills was crowded today, as it was the last few. Parking lot 3/4 full, and people walking the fields, trails, using picnic areas. Lots of HS and college aged kids too, which was nice to see. Sad it took this to bring them all out.
 
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Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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Last weekend we noticed many more vehicles out there than usual.
 

lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
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Bass River State Forest
It's good to hear people are out.
Standing almost in one place, on a single trail, in a single forest, as I was for several hours is not a good way to judge how many people are out there.
 
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The Wick

Scout
Mar 6, 2016
84
32
18
Forked River
The Franklin Parker Preserve entrance by Chatsworth Lake was insane yesterday. Parking lot was full, cars on both sides of the street. Took the dog up to Apple High Hill. Nobody was there. She sniffed near the locked gate and made the siren go off!
 
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lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
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Bass River State Forest
Just curious about this Apple Pie Hill alarm that has been mentioned before. Do you think they have a motion sensor? That plus alarm, just to scare people away from trying to get in and up? Because it sounds like it gets set off without people actually trying to breach the fence.
 

Zach McGarvey

Explorer
Feb 11, 2018
168
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Woodbury / Vineland NJ
I went to the Millville WMA shooting range to shoot a few of my .22s and a paper sign was posted saying the range was closed. I was tempted to press my luck since there wasn't anyone around, but this is NJ, and there's no guessing how they would treat an offense like that if a fish and game officer came by. I ended up leaving to do a little exploring down by the bay while gas is cheap and my free time is plentiful. Maybe by now all the rain washed the paper sign away so I could plead ignorance...

Wish I had an outdoor (legal) spot to shoot!
 

GermanG

Piney
Apr 2, 2005
1,038
302
1,063
Little Egg Harbor
I just checked the Division's website to see if the WMAs have been closed beyond the shooting ranges and they are stated to still be open. I've been letting the dogs stretch their legs in a few of them since being home more days. Nice thing about them is the absence of blazed trails and the less "civilized" parking results in far less users.
 
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lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
335
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Bass River State Forest
Does everyone think state parks, forests, and WMAs are going to stay open? Ocean County just closed their parks for the same kind of behavior that is likely going on in state parks. (I say 'likely', pretending not to have seen it.) I hope the state has the guts to keep them open, but I fear they might close them 'in the name of safety'.
 

Zach McGarvey

Explorer
Feb 11, 2018
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Woodbury / Vineland NJ
I don't think you'll see any more closures on state property. Buildings and attractions like campgrounds or historic sites have already been closed for the duration. I agree that many of the WMAs have decently unspoiled woods, but during any hunting season, I would wear orange or stay out. And the week after Thanksgiving (six-day shotgun season), just plain stay out-- too many hunters and it's only become more dangerous now that everyone stopped using buckshot and now exclusively shoot slugs.