Wells Mill County Park is for Hikers

J

JeffD

Guest
A myriad of interconnecting trails is the highlight of Wells Mills County Park just outside of Waretown. There is a small open field at the entrance and a playground nearby as well as a nature center, where you can get maps and other information and see exibits. From this one and only entrance and parking area, you can pick up any one of several trails, which vary in length, scenery and difficulty. This is a hiking park, with a network of trails that total much more than ten miles. Quite impressive for a 900 acre park!

Aside from some minor inconveniences and slight hints of environmental extremism, the park proved a good place to enjoy and learn about nature as well as the history of the way people used the land here.

The park requires hikers to sign in and out. I couldn't find the sign in sheet on the wooden stand between the parking lot and the nature center where you're supposed to sign in and out. I learned from a staffer inside the nature center that there's a latch underneath, and out of sight, the small desk-like trail sign of the stand. I also found the nature center door locked, more than 1/2 hour before closing time, when I went to return a trail guide after I finished hiking. I glimpsed and saw someone inside, but I decided to walk over to the trail head to return the guide.

I decided to take the almost two mile nature trail. A sign on the stand that held the nature trail guides requested that hikers "recycle" the guides by returning them after hiking. Actually, what I think they meant was to reuse them. I guess "recycle" has become an environmental buzzword, a cliche. I noticed, however, some decomposing vegetation in the transparent box. Maybe if the paper guides stay there long enough to decompose they will indeed be recycled!

The nature trail was interesting and very educational. The guide explained why the pine trees were so large and why they dominated various stands. It explained the trenches that were dug to stop forest fires, and pointed out that in the Pine Barrens, these fire lines run north to south, which can serve as a usefull navigation tool. At every number that corresponded to the trail guide (number 10 was missing), there was something new. The hiker learns about and sees the forest understory, prescribed burns, streams -- ones that noticeably fluxuate with the seasons and one that stays more or less uniform throughout the year-- and about the history of the way people used the land. There was also a good view of a cedar swamp, with stands of very large cedars filling the woods.

At one stop, the guide pointed to a depression on a rise by the trail, where clay was once mined. Plants have colonized the former clay pit.

Part of the trail ran along a road that was used to take clay, timber, and other resources to markets. One part of the trail guide that puzzled me, close to the beginning of the trail at one stop, was the comment that the road you see is evidence of a road's impact on the environment. An impact on the environment? This statement has connotations of the LET'S KEEP OUT THE HUMANS wilderness mentality, with a hint of Slick Willy's Roadless Area Initiative.

The nature trail ended by Wells Mill Lake, where a stream trickled towards the lake. A sign directed hikers to follow another trail, which ran along the lake through stands of cedars and other plants, back to the nature center/parking lot staging area. There was a bench by the lake, which afforded a nice view of the lake in pleasant surroundings.

The trail allows hikers to enjoy nature and to escape into the wilderness, so to speak, inspite of the occasional faint sounds from the nearby highway. There were just enough signs and other accomodations to help the hiker while providing a somewhat rustic experience. The woods were in good shape, with just an occasional dead standing tree, decaying logs, to make the woods presentable. And the park maintains a balance between recreation and environmental protection.

Wells Mill Park has a variety of vegetation and landforms. There's the lake, a large swamp and a few smaller wetlands, and there's highground. I saw on the general trail map that there's a trail that leads to a hill that's 130 feet about sea level. That's guite high for this part of New Jersey! Maybe I'll visit the park another time to hike to that hill.

Wells Mill County Park is off of route 532, a very short jog above Garden State Parkway exit 69, going away from downtown Waretown. The park is on your left. From 539, heading southeast from Allentown, New Jersey, take 72 east a mile or two and turn left on route 532 and drive a few miles. The park is on your right.
 

Teegate

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Jeff,

I believe the German from the other boards works there or has something to do with it. He posts occasionally on events that they are having.

Guy
 
J

JeffD

Guest
I know from the other board that German has something to do with Wells Mill. Unfortunately, I missed the Pine Barrens Jamboree he promoted.

I suspect that he had something to do with the nature trail guide. Somehow I gathered that German is knowledgeable about environmental science. Some of the conventional wisdom of the environmental ilk is apparent in the guide. Even with the more tame environmentalists, some strange ideas that go unchallenged are accepted at face value. This is the case with the general public as well. Ideas have to be scrutinized by everyone. Futhermore, opinions for public policy decisions should come from many interests.

Jeff
 

bobpbx

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Jeff, your colorful commentary on the park itself need not have contained any references to environmental extremism or lame complaints about the decision to use the word recycle rather than reuse. If you knew German worked there you should have eased up a bit. I'm sure he works hard at making Wells Mills a good experience for all, even for you ultra-conservative right wing Rush Limbaugh lovers.

Give it a rest, we environmentalists aren't all out to get you or keep humans out of the woods.......Bob.

JeffD said:
I know from the other board that German has something to do with Wells Mill. Unfortunately, I missed the Pine Barrens Jamboree he promoted.

I suspect that he had something to do with the nature trail guide. Somehow I gathered that German is knowledgeable about environmental science. Some of the conventional wisdom of the environmental ilk is apparent in the guide. Even with the more tame environmentalists, some strange ideas that go unchallenged are accepted at face value. This is the case with the general public as well. Ideas have to be scrutinized by everyone. Futhermore, opinions for public policy decisions should come from many interests.

Jeff
 

Ben Ruset

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BobM said:
Give it a rest, we environmentalists aren't all out to get you or keep humans out of the woods.......Bob.
No, that's what the Sierra Club is for. :lol:

Edit: After meeting you, I think you and I share a lot of the same ideas about preserving the Pine Barrens. We may not see eye to eye on the execution, but I don't think that matters much.

I'm happy that there's a community that cares so much about the Pine Barrens. I think that means more than debating about cutting down trees and whatnot.
 
J

JeffD

Guest
That's right, Bob and Ben, we have in common the love of the Pine Barrens.

As you can see, Bob, I said mostly good things about Wells Mills County Park. It is a great place for hikers, with a variety of hikes, where you can do a loop, either on a prescribed plan or you can mix and match and figure out a route for yourself.

I think the nature guide is well done and very interesting and educational. But I am not a PR person for the park and, like a movie critic for example, I say what I think about the park. I call it as I see it. I'm not going to censor myself, as Rodney King says, to just get along or just because I rap with someone on a bulletin board. You say "we environmentalists aren't all out to get you or to keep you out of the woods." Good! Glad to hear that. I'll hold you and other environmentalists to that.

One of the big problems with the modern environmental movement is that a contrary view on anything some environmentalists hold is not tolerated. This has been the case on the federal level with forest service policy. During the last administration in the White House, laws were passed after secret meetings were held between the Forest Service and environmental extremists groups. And after public imput meetings have been held, which included representation from groups such as the Sierra Club, if certain environmentalists didn't get everything they wanted, they've filed lawsuits and have used other tactics to create a log jam. With them, it's MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. Fortunately, congress is doing something to put and end to this.

I learned in a public relations class that a favorable report from a third party, which is independent of an organization or company, carrys more weight with the public than it would if the organization was just tooting it's own horn. An outside source would have a more objective evaluation of an organization or company. This kind of thing is the foundation of our democratic republic, with independent entities watching over one another.

As I've said, Wells Mills County Park is a great place to visit, however, I'm not into doing fluff pieces in order to appease elitists, who think that every sacred word they utter is beyond challenge.

By the way, Bob, I'm glad you're posting on this board. It would be nice to meet you sometimes. Perhaps at Guy's outing on Nov. 23. I'll bring my DDT and my chainsaw so I can cut down the remaining trees at the site of the recent tree harvest at Speedwell. Don't want to miss any of them. :) :wink:
 

bobpbx

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Okay Jeff, see you there. 8)


JeffD said:
That's right, Bob and Ben, we have in common the love of the Pine Barrens.

As you can see, Bob, I said mostly good things about Wells Mills County Park. It is a great place for hikers, with a variety of hikes, where you can do a loop, either on a prescribed plan or you can mix and match and figure out a route for yourself.

I think the nature guide is well done and very interesting and educational. But I am not a PR person for the park and, like a movie critic for example, I say what I think about the park. I call it as I see it. I'm not going to censor myself, as Rodney King says, to just get along or just because I rap with someone on a bulletin board. You say "we environmentalists aren't all out to get you or to keep you out of the woods." Good! Glad to hear that. I'll hold you and other environmentalists to that.

One of the big problems with the modern environmental movement is that a contrary view on anything some environmentalists hold is not tolerated. This has been the case on the federal level with forest service policy. During the last administration in the White House, laws were passed after secret meetings were held between the Forest Service and environmental extremists groups. And after public imput meetings have been held, which included representation from groups such as the Sierra Club, if certain environmentalists didn't get everything they wanted, they've filed lawsuits and have used other tactics to create a log jam. With them, it's MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. Fortunately, congress is doing something to put and end to this.

I learned in a public relations class that a favorable report from a third party, which is independent of an organization or company, carrys more weight with the public than it would if the organization was just tooting it's own horn. An outside source would have a more objective evaluation of an organization or company. This kind of thing is the foundation of our democratic republic, with independent entities watching over one another.

As I've said, Wells Mills County Park is a great place to visit, however, I'm not into doing fluff pieces in order to appease elitists, who think that every sacred word they utter is beyond challenge.

By the way, Bob, I'm glad you're posting on this board. It would be nice to meet you sometimes. Perhaps at Guy's outing on Nov. 23. I'll bring my DDT and my chainsaw so I can cut down the remaining trees at the site of the recent tree harvest at Speedwell. Don't want to miss any of them. :) :wink:
 
J

JeffD

Guest
Yeah, it is funny. LOL. Quite clever.
Only I don't drink. But that spirit could be there.

I trust that will genuinely happen.

I like to tell it how it is and how I really feel, because...

Some people
Dit Dit Did-deh Dah
Are seeing a bridge plastic
Dit Dit Did-deh Dah
Some people
Dit Dit Did-deh Dah
Are exploring the woods
Dit Dit Did-deh Dah
Some people
Dit Dit Dit-deh Dah
Speak what they think good
Dit Dit Dit-deh Dah
And baby
I'm for real
As real as real
As real can get
Dit Dit Dit-deh Dah
And what you see
What you see
Is what you get now
What you see
Is what you get
What you see
Is what you get...
 

Teegate

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Ben,

Jeff and I need a clear head to navigate around the snakes in the road. :D


Guy
 
J

JeffD

Guest
That's right, Guy. And a rolling stone gathers no moss. If we start moving stones a snake might jump out at us; so we leave the stones be so moss can colonize the rocks. :) 8)
 

Teegate

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Ben,

I have tried to add a photo as I do with the other boards and it fails. What is the trick with your boards. I even used your html from the previous post and changed the link to my photo.

Guy
 

Teegate

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I played with the IMG button but did not know I had to encapsulate it. I will test it out. Thanks.

Guy

 
J

JeffD

Guest
The snake in your picture, Ben, looks like it could be a Woop Snake. That's a snake that jumps out at you and woops your butt. The one in your photo, Guy, looks like the one that I saw crossing Quaker Bridge Road from the bog somewhere between where the RR tracks cross the road and the turnoff for the Mullica River Wilderness Campground.

I better be careful if I start climbing the hills at Wells Mills County Park just in case it has Hoop Snakes. I'll have to remember to bring my stick. I heard that when these hoop snakes get themselves into a hoop and roll down the hill all you have to do to protect yourself is to stick a stick inside the hoop and break the hoop. I'm told Hoop Snakes are helpless once you break the hoop.

I guess snakes are something we have to live with. We don't have anyone like Saint Patrick, who drove the snakes out of Ireland. And he used a stick from wood from an old growth forest! I'm surprised that some environmentalists don't boycott the Saint Patrick's day parade!

Seriously, though, I didn't come across any rattlesnake habitat when I hiked at Wells Mills County Park. I looked up the Timber Rattlesnake on a Pine Barrens link awhile ago. One thing I remember is that they like rocks and, unlike the Blue Heron, hang out in a group.