Round Valley Resevoir

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
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Coastal NJ
Never camped there but have hiked and fished. The reservoir has a reputation for getting very bad under certain conditions and have a wind warning system when all boaters must leave the water. There is a smaller launch site for campers on the SW side near the south dam. I would not pick a campsite near the wind warning light ;)
 
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NJChileHead

Explorer
Dec 22, 2011
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Never camped there but have hiked and fished. The reservoir has a reputation for getting very bad under certain conditions and have a wind warning system when all boaters must leave the water. There is a smaller launch site for campers on the SW side near the south dam. I would not pick a campsite near the wind warning light ;)
Hi 46er, that's interesting, and I appreciate that input because we have considered camping there as well. What causes those conditions to occur, and just out of curiosity, how bad does it get?
 

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
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No fun for sure. I agree with the one comment about how many paddlers lack the basic's in safety training, but hang an outboard on the back of a 12' rowboat and you do. :confused:

I fondly recall the white knuckle days coming home from offshore :eek:
 

Toothy Critter

Explorer
Sep 16, 2016
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Have boated, fished and camped there. Great place...DO IT!!! Load up gear on the canoe, paddle out to campsite that only boaters or backpackers are allowed into. Don't worry about wind unless there are storms, which is applicable to any lake.
 

willy

Scout
Jul 16, 2014
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I have hiked and camped there many times. The camp sites have 3 tiers to them. Close to the water, between the low and high road, and above the high road. They stretch for 3 miles of shoreline. No picnic tables. Although, It's beautiful there, there is no real privacy between sites. In the past, we saved the ranger stations phone number and was able to switch sites just by calling them. They also have a photo album of each site to look at before you chose. The ground itself at many sites is sloped with little to no flat area to pitch a tent comfortable. I since started camping in a hammock. Happy trails!
 
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sgtdave4321

New Member
Mar 7, 2016
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Garden State
Well , life got in the way over the past two summers, but looks like we are finally going to do Round Valley in a few weeks. Anyone been there/cmped there recently? Thanks!
 

sgtdave4321

New Member
Mar 7, 2016
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We went to Round Valley Resevoir on 6/21-6/22/19. When hit the water around Noon and after paddling for about 15 minutes the wind really kicked up and the water got pretty rough. We originally were supposed to camp at site 83, but the water was too rough to continue that far. The strobe lights were activated and we pulled off of the water. After about 30 minutes I called the ranger station and requested a new camp site because the water was too rough, and the strobe system was activated. The person I spoke to said that the strobes didnt mean to get off the water, but just to stay close to the coast and continue paddling. I told the person that it was not safe to paddle and we got reassigned to another site. (It should be noted that in the ranger station as well as on the literature they give you when checking in says to get off of the water if the stobes are turnd on). We ended up at site 40. The site itself was ok, but not really level. We were a little over a mile to the nearest water point. It was nice to see bathrooms along the trail with trash cans. However the bathrooms were really dirty and unmaintained. I understand it is a wilderness camping spot, but the one bathroom actually had feces covering the floor. The trash cans were nice though.

The wind died down early on 6/22 and we hit the water, paddling back to the boat launch in about an hour in calm water. Over all the site was not too bad, with a great view of the water. The staff was not very friendly , saftey concious or helpful. I felt the advice to just keep paddling close to coast while th strobe alert system was activated was not very wise. We will probably visit again, but will hike in so we do not have to deal with the unpredictable wind ans water conditions. Also his is an active Bear area , so bring bear spray. Also , there was no cell servce by the ranger station , but our phones worked well when out on the water and at the camp site.
 
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Teegate

Administrator
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Sep 17, 2002
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Very nice review. I think if I was going to go there I would pass on it.
 

PJH79

New Member
May 31, 2019
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RE: Warning Lights

I was there yesterday 06-30-19 (Sunday). Boat in the water around 11 am. Warning lights were pretty much on most of the day. I did not even realize they were on till we were travelling on the water. The rangers were out by the ramps when we unloaded, never said anything about us not entering. I believe the wind lights are hooked to a wind sensor and automatically trip at 25 MPH and then remain on a timer for maybe 5-10 minutes after that. There warning lights were off and on all day long. At the peak of the wind, around 11 am, the water was pretty damn rough. There were decent rollers everywhere, with white caps. The center of the lake looked like a white cap mosh pit lol. I have been to RV several times, definitely the worst i have seen the water with out a heavy thunderstorm present, those are interesting as well, when your not quite ashore yet. There were several boats still out, but they all kept closer to the shore line, none were crossing or even attempting the center of the lake. The busiest area was inside the nook by the public boat ramp where several kayaks and paddle boarders were present. We attempted to take a ride over to the camp sites to scope out a new site for our next trip. Along the camping edge of the lake, were healthy rollers moving on a diagonal against the shore line . My 14' tri-hull fiberglass skiff with a 9.9 HP was struggling, we were getting smacked around, water splashing over the bow. I gave up trying to beach near the camp sites, I could not read the terrain beneath me and didn't want my boat to get tossed into a rock underneath. The waters calmed down a bit after noon hour or so, but still intermittent warning light activation's. We decided to beach along the shore line between the public ramp and the south ramp and had out lunch. Many were there, most with kayaks and other small boats. Finally, a ranger walks along that shore line, advising us that we are on state land and this is only acceptable if we are paid recreational users for the day. Accessing the water via public boat ramp does not give us access to use the beach line. I had advised him we are only here due to the wind warning lights intermittently activating and that its a bit rough out there. The ranger advised me that we can hold our current location while the lights are activated but can not set up chairs on the beach line. There were several other boats out in the water in with the warning lights on. There was even one younger adult on a kayak who had flipped, other boats were assisting him. The ranger did not signal for any of the other boats or crafts to come to the shore line. I agree with and have seen the signs advising you to get off the water when the wind warning lights activate. I believe its even in bold on the camping permit they provide you. Based on yesterday's events, it seems that they do allow you to remain on the water as long as you stay closer to the shore line, which i can understand. Round Valley is a great place for day or camping trips. But I can understand your confusion with how to proceed with a warn warning alert.

Give RV another shot, its great up there!!
 

lj762

Explorer
Feb 18, 2017
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Bass River State Forest
It's troubling that you seem to be getting incorrect information from staff about the wind warning system. What do you mean by "Rangers"? I don't think there are any actual rangers anymore. There are State Park Police, and State Park Service staff. They should be easy to tell apart, based on uniforms and patches on their clothes. Depending on who is telling you "it's OK to boat when the strobes are on", I really think you should follow up with them.

Here is the text posted on the camping reservation system:
Wind Warning Light

Attention Campers Boating In!
Campers boating to their campsites need to be aware of the Wind Warning System.
The wind warning system is activated when the winds reach 20-25 mph. The wind
warning system consists of 4 strobe lights: one at each dam, one at the NJ
Fish and Wildlife Public Boat Lauch and one in the middle of the campgrounds.

If any of the 4 strobe lights turn on BOATING IS PROHIBITED!

You must clear the reservior, beach your vessel on the nearest shoreline if
unable to reach the launch area. Campers need to wait until the wind calms.
If the winds persist and the system is still on, then campers need to be
prepared to hike back to or from their sites as Round Valley Recreation
Area does not provide a transportation service for campers or a towing
service for boats.
 

PJH79

New Member
May 31, 2019
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It was park police, but they did't seem to care that boats were out, again most were along the edge or in the nook by the public ramp, which was a hair calmer the rest.
 

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
8,473
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Coastal NJ
There is little to no info regarding reservoir boating on its web site. I found the best info on the Round Valley Trout Association when I was looking for fishing info. See the link. As stated there no longer are 'Rangers' in the NJ State Parks & Forests system.

In part it says;

Round Valley Regulations

1. Reservoir is closed to all boating if white warning light is flashing.
- No launching of boats
- Boat must leave water
- If unable reach ramp, beach boat.