Recreation in the Pines... My thoughts

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Medford Piney

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Feb 25, 2008
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I was going to post this in the traps thread, but no reason to bring it even more off topic.... So here it goes....

There are many different and diverse types of recreation that can be enjoyed in the pines. Many times they create conflicts, some more then others. But it's really not the form of recreation that conflicts, most of the time, I believe it’s the participants beliefs, closed mindedness and own stubbornness that creates these conflicts. Now I'm not talking about the outcome that could leave a negative effect to the ecological system. I'm strictly talking about the forms of recreation and the participants. As we all know any person involved in any form, be it leg powered, pedal powered, arm power, horse or gas powered can leave a negative impact on the ecosystem in one form or another and to different degrees. There are hiker and campers that toss their powerbar wrappers, water bottles and other trash on the ground and there are gas powered enthusiasts that purposely enter and destroy areas that should be forever untouched. But in those and any in-between those people are the minorities of the whole. Alot of the people that do recreate in the pines enjoy the outdoors only one specific way and others enjoy it from one end of the user’s spectrum to the other and out of all those people there will always be some "bad apples' to be found. It's will be only when the good majority reaches out and educates the children and newcomers to their sport or past-time how to be respectful of others, the environment and the laws will then the numbers of the bad diminish. This will tip the scale to even more responsible usage and sharing which will in turn benefit all people, the environment and also decrease the environmental impact. When I do things with my son and daughter no matter if in the streets of a city or the desolate woods in the area I speak to them about what good they can do and what they should not do. I can only believe that when they are older and have to make a choice in front of their peers they will remember and make a correct one. Those chats always include not littering, not to be destructive and actively participating in the community. They also include teaching them that because someone is different or enjoys something you do not that you should always show respect and understanding. I think this holds true in race, religion and recreation. I tell them that there will always be people who will not agree with you and will condemn you for your beliefs and actions but to again be respectful. My personal belief is that when everyone learns to get along, cooperate, and respect each other and their form of recreation then and only then will there be the balance needed to protect what we all love and enjoy, be at its peak and be most effective. If your a hard-line environmentalist, a trail hiker, an equestrian or an off road vehicle user, when we all learn to compromise, work to achive a common goal and together strive towards this goal harmony will be found....
 

BobNJ1979

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May 31, 2007
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agreed medford.. ppl of various "usage ideals" have been getting along in the pines for yrs ! .. why, all of a sudden, there is so much conflict, i do not know. somewhere along the way here, ppl must have started thinking they were better and deserved more than others.. it could turn into a civil war amongst the pines (call that dramatic, but i could see it happening).
 

woodjin

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Nov 8, 2004
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts MP. I think your perspective on the situation is accurate and I agree that education is key in reducing future conflicts. I think reducing conflict is a worthy goal, I don't think there will ever be total harmony. But a little tolerance on everybody's part goes a very long way.

Jeff
 

russell juelg

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...There are many different and diverse types of recreation that can be enjoyed in the pines. Many times they create conflicts, some more then others. But it's really not the form of recreation that conflicts, most of the time, I believe it’s the participants beliefs, closed mindedness and own stubbornness that creates these conflicts. ... when the good majority reaches out and educates the children and newcomers to their sport or past-time how to be respectful of others, the environment and the laws will then the numbers of the bad diminish. ... not littering, not to be destructive and actively participating in the community. They also include teaching them that because someone is different or enjoys something you do not that you should always show respect and understanding. ... If your a hard-line environmentalist, a trail hiker, an equestrian or an off road vehicle user, when we all learn to compromise, work to achive a common goal and together strive towards this goal harmony will be found....
All good thoughts and goals. Thanks.
 

Aaron

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Jul 29, 2007
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I agree that there are bad apples in every aspect of recreation, but there are hikers like myself that pick up the powerbar and water bottles left by my inconsiderate hiking breatheren, i dont see any 4x4 users filling in the holes that others make or replanting the flora thats destroyed by the morons with the 44inch tires tearing up the woods, when i see the community picking up the slack of there bad apples then i will be a little more tolerant of them until then nope:bang:
 

BobNJ1979

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I agree that there are bad apples in every aspect of recreation, but there are hikers like myself that pick up the powerbar and water bottles left by my inconsiderate hiking breatheren, i dont see any 4x4 users filling in the holes that others make or replanting the flora thats destroyed by the morons with the 44inch tires tearing up the woods, when i see the community picking up the slack of there bad apples then i will be a little more tolerant of them until then nope:bang:
now you're just pointing fingers.. dude.. every yr there is a HUGE cleanup in wharton state forest run by (you guessed it) the 4x4 jeep community.. ppl with trucks, jeeps, SUV's, etc show up (100's of vehicles) and they do a huge cleanup. i believe it's 2 days long and they usually fill 2 huge dumpsters (the kind that are as long as a truck) and still have stuff that won't fit in.. i'm sure some ppl on this site has seen, participated in or heard of this clean up.. i can't remember if it's in the spring or fall. i myself have never participated.. however, the enduro club i belong to, we are responsible for cleaning up a section of 206 a few times a yr. just past atsion lake (you'll see the signs).. south jersey enduro riders.

your comment is based on ignorance man. in that you don't know what groups really do.

and way to change the mood of an otherwise peaceful and agreeable thread.. :jeffd:
 

long-a-coming

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The Wharton Cleanup is at the end of October. Forked river Mt. Cleanup is 4/20 (see Bob's thread). There is also a Waterford cleanup I'm not sure of the date or time year they do it. Plenty of opportunities to get involved. I salute all you folks who do your part and fill up a bag or two on your own too. I'm preaching to the choir here I know. The Wharton cleanup is only one day but I believe the folks who organize it camp out the night before the event.
 

Aaron

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now you're just pointing fingers.. dude.. every yr there is a HUGE cleanup in wharton state forest run by (you guessed it) the 4x4 jeep community.. ppl with trucks, jeeps, SUV's, etc show up (100's of vehicles) and they do a huge cleanup. i believe it's 2 days long and they usually fill 2 huge dumpsters (the kind that are as long as a truck) and still have stuff that won't fit in.. i'm sure some ppl on this site has seen, participated in or heard of this clean up.. i can't remember if it's in the spring or fall. i myself have never participated.. however, the enduro club i belong to, we are responsible for cleaning up a section of 206 a few times a yr. just past atsion lake (you'll see the signs).. south jersey enduro riders.

your comment is based on ignorance man. in that you don't know what groups really do.

and way to change the mood of an otherwise peaceful and agreeable thread.. :jeffd:
I am only pointing fingers at those that do what i said, i used to have a lifted blazer and a duel sport bike, ive seen 1st hand alot of the irresponsible behavior the off road community does on a daily basis. its not every off roader, or enduro rider. And the fact that you guys get together once a year and pick up trash is great, i commend you for that, however there are alot of idiots in 4x4's that make the entire off road community look bad.

So my comments are based on personal experience and what ive seen from some members of the community while i was with them, not ignorance.

I didnt write my origional post to attack anyone or change the mood of this peaceful or agreeable thread, but to give the perspective i have based upon my experiences
 

Medford Piney

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Feb 25, 2008
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however there are alot of idiots in 4x4's that make the entire off road community look bad.

If you really look you will find there are alot of idiots that make any community or for that matter profession look bad.

Like I stated the specific groups need to educate within themselves if possible. Everyone as they age valves things differently then when they were younger, well almost everyone. They frown at actions they witness that they themselves did in the past. These are life lessons that can be passed down, I for sure know I do this with my children, their friends and others I see recreating. I have done this with the scout group my son belongs to. It's no different then someone who did drugs in their past telling others not to do them..

Until everyone gets over the when.. :pigfly: attitude it only going to be a nasty circle of distrust and accusations..

Some of the major problem it seems are the infighting or disliking within the groups, 4x4'er fight within their group, motorcyclist fight within their groups, the environmentalist disagree within their various groups, then they all fight eachother... Pretty sad....

When the ULTIMATE goal can be finally negotiated and each and every group has their say and makes the necessary concession to achieve this golden goal, people will feel fulfilled and happy that a great task has been accomplished.

Tolerate and work with the good from the groups you normally would not then see how much can be done then. Overlook the bad for now, for their time will expire.
 

Aaron

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If you really look you will find there are alot of idiots that make any community or for that matter profession look bad.

Like I stated the specific groups need to educate within themselves if possible. Everyone as they age valves things differently then when they were younger, well almost everyone. They frown at actions they witness that they themselves did in the past. These are life lessons that can be passed down, I for sure know I do this with my children, their friends and others I see recreating. I have done this with the scout group my son belongs to. It's no different then someone who did drugs in their past telling others not to do them..

Until everyone gets over the when.. :pigfly: attitude it only going to be a nasty circle of distrust and accusations..

Some of the major problem it seems are the infighting or disliking within the groups, 4x4'er fight within their group, motorcyclist fight within their groups, the environmentalist disagree within their various groups, then they all fight eachother... Pretty sad....

When the ULTIMATE goal can be finally negotiated and each and every group has their say and makes the necessary concession to achieve this golden goal, people will feel fulfilled and happy that a great task has been accomplished.

Tolerate and work with the good from the groups you normally would not then see how much can be done then. Overlook the bad for now, for their time will expire.

Well worded and very intelligent post, I know there are bad apples in every group, but the damage a lone irresponsible hiker can do littering water bottles and cliff bars is small compared to the damamge one lone off roader can do, the impact one of ours has is miniscule compared to the off road community.

I think if all of the 4x4 community had the mind set you did then there wouldnt be an issue
 

Medford Piney

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Feb 25, 2008
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Well worded and very intelligent post, I know there are bad apples in every group, but the damage a lone irresponsible hiker can do littering water bottles and cliff bars is small compared to the damamge one lone off roader can do, the impact one of ours has is miniscule compared to the off road community.

I think if all of the 4x4 community had the mind set you did then there wouldnt be an issue

Well thank you... but I have not a 4X4.

I take issue with no user group what so ever. My recreational choice is not an issue nor should it be a concern for anyone but myself. I respect all and their desires to enjoy the pines as they wish (bad apples aside). I see extremes from all sides, the haters and the players and the candlestick makers....

I attended a meeting for the NJ Trail Plan in Medford last year, it was a large mix of different people who didn't like each other activities, there were unhappy people because they only cared about their agenda. It took awhile but alot of work and conversation did came from it. Nothing from the state of course but people talked and others listens, even if they did not agree with that user group. Some fences were mended and some barriers were broken. In the end, it was all good. Of course there were a few that didn't walk out happy, but there's aways some bad apples.....

I welcome the day when the groups that oppose each other and seed conflict finally all sit down and really lay out their feeling and start a dialog to come to some sort of balance that all can live with. Then the many with one goal can push our elected officials (they are there to represent us, not tell us what we should do) to do what is needed to satisfy all. I don't think this will happen soon, not till the different groups stop looking for champions of their cause to lead them, but elect and follow people that have a desire to get results and understand that just can't have everything.

But back to your total impact comment, yes a water bottle that is left behind will have less initial impact then a 4x4 doing a wheel spin in the woods, but a counter, if bottles and other trash are not picked up in the long run it will have a greater impact as nature has a better chance of reclaiming itself then the bottle does at degrading itself... But lets not argue here.. :guinness:
 

russell juelg

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"I welcome the day when the groups that oppose each other and seed conflict finally all sit down and really lay out their feeling and start a dialog to come to some sort of balance that all can live with."

My hat's off to Ben and the others who maintain this site, which is a big step in that direction. We might disagree with each other vehemently, but if we try to discuss the issues, we have a chance of working toward a solution. Like Tom and I found out, we have a lot more in common than we might realize.
 

BobNJ1979

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May 31, 2007
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"I welcome the day when the groups that oppose each other and seed conflict finally all sit down and really lay out their feeling and start a dialog to come to some sort of balance that all can live with."

My hat's off to Ben and the others who maintain this site, which is a big step in that direction. We might disagree with each other vehemently, but if we try to discuss the issues, we have a chance of working toward a solution. Like Tom and I found out, we have a lot more in common than we might realize.
ready.
 

Medford Piney

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Managing those badly-behaved riders

http://aerc.org/ENMarch08RMF.asp
Text from the preceding link...


By Patti Stedman, Ride Managers Committee Chair

Admittedly, this is a delicate topic for AERC members.

I think the good news is that, generally speaking, badly-behaved riders are few and far between in our sport; in fact, some ride managers to whom I speak say they have never had an issue with a difficult competitor at their ride.

However, tales -- both anecdotal and official -- have brought this issue to a head, and the Ride Managers Committee has spent countless hours discussing and e-mailing one another about how we can support ride managers who may have to deal with what we have (less than fondly) begun to call "BBR."

Please understand that my own personal philosophy about managing an AERC ride is that it's my party, organized by my family and my friends, and that I run it within the guidelines that AERC provides, make sure that everyone has what they need to safely get around the course, and beyond that, the theme, the atmosphere, the party favors and -- let's face it -- the cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, are up to me.

Every year, folks are openly invited to attend my party -- it's entirely up to them to choose whether or not to come. If someone comes to my party and can't follow the party rules, well, then as far as I'm concerned, they can't come back to my party.

Fundamentally, endurance rides exist based on the hospitality and efforts of ride managers, and ride managers should not be subjected to the abuse of BBR.

My own philosophy aside, let's look at the issue from both a preventative perspective as well as the steps that can be taken if you've encountered a BBR.

BRR: a definition

First off, let's define a BBR. As United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said in 1964, "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it."

-- It might be someone who is verbally or physically abusive to vets, volunteers or other riders.

-- It might be someone who shows blatant disregard for fundamental, published ride rules, repeatedly violating them or showing disdain and little effort to comply.

-- It might be someone who refuses to pay the ride management, treatment vet, or farrier (or make good on a bad check within a reasonable period of time).

-- It might be someone who is abusive to their horse, circumvents rules, cuts trail, creates a serious safety hazard for other riders/horses/staff or otherwise abuses the privilege of competing in an endurance ride.

-- It might be someone who shows no respect for the property at the ride camp, the holds, or the trails secured for the event.

-- It might be someone who dabbles a bit in each of these areas of bad behavior, and who generally presents an unreasonable challenge to the ride manager and/or staff.

Prevention

There may be some ways to nip the behavior of the BBR in the bud. Certainly all ride managers have their own personal style and level of comfort with direct confrontation, but if you have a BBR returning to your ride, or one you've witnessed behaving badly at another ride, or who has garnered a BBR reputation, it might be worth taking a quiet moment to chat with the person to let them know that the behavior (and be specific) will not be tolerated at your ride.

Many BBRs simply get caught up in the frustration or excitement of competition, leaving a league of disgruntled volunteers and vets and ride managers in their wake.

I tend to be a pretty upfront sort of person. As evidence, one sweet local rider once came up to me and sheepishly confessed: "Patti, you know, I'm a little bit afraid of you." At first I was horrified, and later, was left doubled over in laughter. As a ride manager, I think it's a little better to be thought of as a tyrant than a pushover, not unlike a sixth grade teacher. (Draw your own analogies here.)

Frequently, a BBR is embarrassed to be called out on their behavior. They apologize, and can be counted on for exemplary performance for at least some period of time. If that's not your style, why not chat with one of your regional directors or another local veteran rider to see if they'd be willing to have a heart-to-heart with your BBR? I can think of at least half a dozen riders in my region who I think could tactfully take on this task.

The key here is being proactive, and having the conversation take place in a low-key or even lighthearted way. Let the person know they have a clean slate at your ride, but that you'll be watching them closely based on their reputation or past behavior. Folks tend to respond better when they're not already wound up in the heat of the moment and are given the benefit of the doubt.

Other pre-ride tactics

Be upfront in your ride flyer. What additional rules do you have at your ride to ensure safety and order? Put them in writing.

What are the consequences for bad behavior? My own ride flyer makes this statement: "Please bring your best manners and sense of humor. Our best friends and families make this ride happen and we won't tolerate nastiness. Bad behavior may result in disqualification at the ride manager's discretion. This ensures everyone has a great time, gets to giggle a lot, and no one cries!"

Additionally, this is a topic we bring up in the pre-ride briefing, including the potential for disqualification at the ride manager's discretion. I include specific instructions for not running over my dad, our official in-timer.

Forewarned is forearmed. (No one has run over Dad yet.)

Responding to bad behavior

Let's say that despite your best efforts, a BBR rears their ugly head at your ride, then what? Use the systems that the AERC has put in place!

If the behavior involves a rule violation (and you have evidence), disqualify the rider.

If the behavior involves abuse of a horse, work with your regional director and the Welfare of the Horse Committee to ensure the issue is addressed.

If the behavior involves breaking a law, contact your local authorities.

If the behavior, in your opinion, constitutes adequate reason for Refusal of Entry per Rule 4.1 (see AERC Rules & Regulations), document the facts, then notify the rider, preferably in writing, that they will be denied future entry to your ride. This is your right based upon the documented facts. (Your party, remember?)

No one, except perhaps the BBR, expects the ride manager to tolerate such behavior -- certainly not AERC, certainly not the vets or volunteers or land owners or horses or other riders who may also be subject to their abuse.

Please don't assume that you are powerless in such situations. Contact your regional director or any member of the Ride Managers Committee on your options, if you're unclear. Unfortunately, we have some experience with dealing with these issues. If all else fails, consideration can be given by the BBR and/or management to utilize AERC's protest procedures.

While this is an unpleasant topic at best, it's important for a ride manager to be prepared for the not-so-fun parts of managing a ride.

Then we can all get back to the party and the "GBR" (Goodly-Behaved Riders) who make it all worthwhile. Happy trails!
 

woodjin

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Nov 8, 2004
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One thing to consider in these disscussions is that we (in general) have a tendancy to group people together because of common interest or ideals. This doesn't necessarily consitute a community.

4x4 people (for example) come from all over, most don't know each other, and have no organization or awareness of each other. They are just people, some the salt of the earth, others are totally jerks. The same goes for all of the other "groups" that use the pine barrens. Canoeists (the garbage on the wading river is awful), horseback riders (manure on the batona trial), hikers (litter), The list goes on. they all have the potential to harm the ecology.

Now, there are of course organized groups for these activities: enduro clubs, canoe clubs, hiking clubs, 4x4 clubs and in every instance that I am aware of, these clubs have proved to be tremendous assets in aiding the ecology, mostly through clean ups. As far as I know there is little tension between these organized groups. Except for the PPA's recent attack on ORV use. The tension seems to stem from the belief that the activity is wrong and not the individual who abuses it.

Just a thought and opinion...the law, as it pertains to the state forests, is....how should I put this.... The law is broken constantly. Many of the laws were made with the best of intentions but due to being unavoidably vague have become very constricting to the responsible outdoorsmen most of us are.

Any one who has ever picked up a snake, turtle, lizard. Or drank a beer, or camped outside of the designated areas, or brought home a piece of slag, or pine cone, or removed a plant or (might want to check me on this one) driven through the forest at night has broken the law. Before we endorse an increase of police presence in the state forests we should take these things into consideration. The law does not use discretion.

One last thing...all of the damaged caused by any of the recreations disscussed, even illegal dumpers, all this combined amounts to nothing compared to the greatest threat to the pinebarrens...developement. The CPMP has been great but has it's short comings, especially in residential growth areas. I don't agree with the PPA on their ORV policy but I back them 100% in their efforts to monitor the Pinelands Commission. I think groups like the Nj conservation foundation and other private non profit organizations could be our saving grace.

Wow, I think that was a rant. How about that?

Jeff
 
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