Wharton State Forest 1966 Visitor Map nearly identical to 2024 draft Visitor Map

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,952
3,103
Pestletown, N.J.
Here is a question.

Who gets to decide what is a motorized vehicle route within a State Park? What criteria should be applied to determine whether or not a particular route should be available for use by (the entire) public?
I have lived literally 50 feet outside of Wharton for the last 40 years and have been hunting, fishing and trapping in Wharton for 56 years. I never needed and I never wanted anyone to tell me what a motorized vehicle route was. I always decided on my own by applying common sense and my experience with each of the many roads that I travel in Wharton. When a road became impassable or difficult to navigate, for whatever reason, I avoided it and found other routes. Usually, within a year or so, the bad ones would get repaired by Parks and Forestry or the NJ Forest Fire Service.

The damage to the roads that occurs from the illicit offroaders who purposely try and get stuck and unstuck leaving behind water filled holes is disheartening. In the 40 years that I have lived on the edge of Wharton, I have never seen lower levels of enforcement than I have now. To stop the willful damage will require a level of enforcement far greater than what exists now. What will absolutely NOT stop the damage are Visitor Maps and thousands of flimsy Carsonite signs driven in front of every secondary road throughout Wharton stating: "No Motor Vehicle Access".

The State has spent (read wasted) a lot of time and money on creating maps that most normal people will ignore. They also spent (read wasted) a tremendous amount of resources on a publicity campaign with a map reveal party staffed by what appeared to be the half of the employees of this entire State. That did nothing but raise the level of anger and solidify opposition to any map that will take away the freedoms that we presently enjoy.
 
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Jason Howell

Explorer
Nov 23, 2009
151
55
I have lived literally 50 feet outside of Wharton for the last 40 years and have been hunting, fishing and trapping in Wharton for 56 years. I never needed and I never wanted anyone to tell me what a motorized vehicle route was. I always decided on my own by applying common sense and my experience with each of the many roads that I travel in Wharton. When a road became impassable or difficult to navigate, for whatever reason, I avoided it and found other routes. Usually, within a year or so, the bad ones would get repaired by Parks and Forestry or the NJ Forest Fire Service.

The damage to the roads that occurs from the illicit offroaders who purposely try and get stuck and unstuck leaving behind water filled holes is disheartening. In the 40 years that I have lived on the edge of Wharton, I have never seen lower levels of enforcement than I have now. To stop the willful damage will require a level of enforcement far greater than what exists now. What will absolutely NOT stop the damage are Visitor Maps and thousands of flimsy Carsonite signs driven in front of every secondary road throughout Wharton stating: "No Motor Vehicle Access".

The State has spent (read wasted) a lot of time and money on creating maps that most normal people will ignore. They also spent (read wasted) a tremendous amount of resources on a publicity campaign with a map reveal party staffed by what appeared to be the half of the employees of this entire State. That did nothing but raise the level of anger and solidify opposition to any map that will take away the freedoms that we presently enjoy
“ by applying common sense and my experience “

Your points make complete sense to me when It comes to you and people with similar ethics and experience.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of people unlike you who are attempting to turn our State Parks into defacto off-road vehicle parks. As you said, presently there is no enforcement. I regularly OPRA request citation data and only a handful of ORV related citations were issued. Of that, only one was for the bare minimum fine for ORVs $250. A few others had 70 dollar state park code fines, but most were just warnings. This is widely seen as the price of admission for the tiny few who receive them.

The absence of enforcement leaves land management techniques, which actually work fantastically well. You can see the results at mile one on the Mullica river, the ponds off Sandy causeway, Jemima mt. Apple pie hill, Martha river bank, stokes road bank, and many many other locations. Management works and enforcement is non existent for the foreseeable future.

I will encourage a campaign to restore enforcement, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on it changing within the next five years.
 
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Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
25,627
8,228
“ by applying common sense and my experience “

Your points make complete sense to me when It comes to you and people with similar ethics and experience.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of people unlike you who are attempting to turn our State Parks into defacto off-road vehicle parks. As you said, presently there is no enforcement. I regularly OPRA request citation data and only a handful of related citation was clearly given, and even that only one was for the bare minimum fine of $250. Most were warnings and a few were given 70 dollar state park code fines. This is widely seen as the price of admission for the tiny few who receive it.

The absence of enforcement leaves land management techniques, which actually work fantastically well. You can see the results at mile one on the Mullica river, the ponds off Sandy causeway, Jemima mt. Apple pie hill, Martha river bank, stokes road bank, and many many other locations. Management works and enforcement is non existent for the foreseeable future.

I will encourage a campaign to restore enforcement, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on it changing within the next five years.
Many of the people who worked on those "management techniques that work fantastically well," including myself, are now in the line of fire for road closures that don't work. It I so simple to see where the priorities should be instead of millions of dollars on a useless map.
 

Piney4life

Explorer
Oct 8, 2015
381
128
51
Waterford
Here is a question.

Who gets to decide what is a motorized vehicle route within a State Park? What criteria should be applied to determine whether or not a particular route should be available for use by (the entire) public?
wharton is not a state park it is a state forest.the roads that pass through it are public roads just as they were when joseph wharton owned the lands to either side of said roads.
 

Jason Howell

Explorer
Nov 23, 2009
151
55
This is a link to recent citation data from jan1-2023-jan1 2024 for those interested. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lJ98DFzoSf58_D8825lCraUFE9mE7ahH/view?usp=drive_link

The question presented by the lack of enforcement of rampant illegal activity is: how can we help law enforcement more effectively protect natural resources and public infrastructure? Given that staffing is at an all time low and there will be few additional officers hired in the near future

Here are some ideas for all our pine barrens NJ State Parks(Wharton legally is a state park, there is no legal distinction between parks/forests like there is in Pennsylvania)

1. Create a system of enforceable routes - meaning that ORV users can't easily escape into networks of spaghetti trails where the park police could never follow in stock 4x4 tahoe's. - This is underway in Wharton https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/wharton/docs/9-proposedvisitingvehicleusemap.pdf

2. Work to remove the major policy restrictions on pursuit and other effective law enforcement techniques that discourage law enforcement from engaging.

3. Change the hierarchical structure and restore park police under the chain of command of the Park superintendents, just like it was when we had Park. Rangers, so that natural resources are made priorities again.

4. Change hiring standards to more closely match the standards for Conservation Officers, who on average seem to be more assertive when it comes to protecting natural resources.

5. Look to hire dedicated "Back Country Rangers", to be distinct from campground, swimming area, and visitor building police officers.
 
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bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
14,193
4,292
Pines; Bamber area
Jason, how about breaking down the below statement to make it clear what you mean. And, is this 'creation' that is 'underway' something that outside organizations such as PPA are participating in? Who is helping?

1. Create a system of enforceable routes - meaning that ORV users can't easily escape into networks of spaghetti trails where the park police could never follow in stock 4x4 tahoe's. - This is underway.
 

enormiss

Explorer
Aug 18, 2015
579
373
Atco NJ
Like half the citations are from Crowleys landing! I better check my trailer lights :)

There is little to no support for point 1, and it will have NO impact on illegal orv use or escape. On a positive note there’s probably a lot of support for 2-5
 

bicycle tim

Scout
Jun 9, 2018
64
61
tabernacle, nj
This is a link to recent citation data from jan1-2023-jan1 2024 for those interested. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lJ98DFzoSf58_D8825lCraUFE9mE7ahH/view?usp=drive_link

The question presented by the lack of enforcement of rampant illegal activity is: how can we help law enforcement more effectively protect natural resources and public infrastructure? Given that staffing is at an all time low and there will be few additional officers hired in the near future

Here are some ideas for all our pine barrens NJ State Parks(Wharton legally is a state park, there is no legal distinction between parks/forests like there is in Pennsylvania)

1. Create a system of enforceable routes - meaning that ORV users can't easily escape into networks of spaghetti trails where the park police could never follow in stock 4x4 tahoe's. - This is underway in Wharton https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/wharton/docs/9-proposedvisitingvehicleusemap.pdf

2. Work to remove the major policy restrictions on pursuit and other effective law enforcement techniques that discourage law enforcement from engaging.

3. Change the hierarchical structure and restore park police under the chain of command of the Park superintendents, just like it was when we had Park. Rangers, so that natural resources are made priorities again.

4. Change hiring standards to more closely match the standards for Conservation Officers, who on average seem to be more assertive when it comes to protecting natural resources.

5. Look to hire dedicated "Back Country Rangers", to be distinct from campground, swimming area, and visitor building police officers.
I have an alternative idea. Perhaps tax-exempt organizations that utilize the Pine Barrens for business purposes and revenue generating activities should be required to make payments in lieu of taxes. These payments could be used to fund increased enforcement efforts. Personally, I find it difficult to accept that organizations operating businesses in the Pine Barrens, that do not pay local real estate or state income taxes, should have a voice in regulating matters such as those currently being addressed. Perhaps this is something our elected officials should address.
 
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smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,527
1,058
Atco, NJ
Call “ enforceable routes” what it is. Road closures. The idea that you need to have widespread closures to be able to enforce the laws is borderline moronic. The roads are still there. You actually give the illegal ORV’s a safe haven because law abiding users that could report them won’t be there and park police will be patrolling the “enforceable routes”. You can’t possibly expect me to believe that’s step 1.
 

Jason Howell

Explorer
Nov 23, 2009
151
55
In my opinion, enforceable routes should be the number 1 criteria for establishing any designated motor vehicle pathways in any park. If they can't be patrolled, they shouldn't be available for motorized usage. Otherwise you have essentially defacto lawless areas which has led to the damage we have seen to some of the most amazing natural features of the pines.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
14,193
4,292
Pines; Bamber area
In my opinion, enforceable routes should be the number 1 criteria for establishing any designated motor vehicle pathways in any park. If they can't be patrolled, they shouldn't be available for motorized usage. Otherwise you have essentially defacto lawless areas which has led to the damage we have seen to some of the most amazing natural features of the pines.
In your opinion? I'll bet you tried to sell that to the State early in the process and they said: "Get real Jason, the public is smarter than that. We'd never hear the end of it."
 
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smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,527
1,058
Atco, NJ
In my opinion, enforceable routes should be the number 1 criteria for establishing any designated motor vehicle pathways in any park. If they can't be patrolled, they shouldn't be available for motorized usage. Otherwise you have essentially defacto lawless areas which has led to the damage we have seen to some of the most amazing natural features of the pines.
You’re trying to confuse everything with the word enforceable. All the current roads in Wharton are enforceable. You can argue that they are not because the Park Police aren’t properly equipped. That would be like the local police department being equipped with mopeds only for traffic control. Then lowering the speed limit or closing roads over 35mph to make them more enforceable. Removing roads doesn’t make them more enforceable. You need to call step one for what it is. A reduction of roads to what you deem adequate.
 
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TommyP

Explorer
Mar 30, 2022
189
181
Clementon
thomaspluck.substack.com
Let’s not forget that he gets paid to troll us. He gets paid block out anyone with a different opinion from his employer’s social media page. He gets paid to make propaganda videos and deceitful posts to sway public opinion. He gets paid to try and disrupt any opposition to his or his employers views. Unfortunately it goes way beyond being just a troll.
This is why I stopped supporting the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and Pinelands Adventures. I'm not gonna pay to remove my own rights.
 

TommyP

Explorer
Mar 30, 2022
189
181
Clementon
thomaspluck.substack.com
What a joke. ORVs can escape down a hiking or mountain biking single track that a Tahoe can't follow. You can put up pylons but they'll be able to go off-road and avoid them. You are not enforcing anything against them, you are only stopping responsible riders and drivers. Which is your plan. Reducing traffic overall is the actual plan, isn't it? And you need to scare responsible people with "lawless off roaders" to make us give up our rights willingly.
 

Jason Howell

Explorer
Nov 23, 2009
151
55
If the police can't/wont drive on it because of the terrible condition and risk to public safety and equipment, it should not be listed as a public road in my opinion.
 

Old Halfway

New Member
May 5, 2019
8
22
Old Halfway
A risk to public safety like this?
1000010780.jpg
 

Piney4life

Explorer
Oct 8, 2015
381
128
51
Waterford
If the police can't/wont drive on it because of the terrible condition and risk to public safety and equipment, it should not be listed as a public road in

If the police can't/wont drive on it because of the terrible condition and risk to public safety and equipment, it should not be listed as a public road in my opinion.
Park police have atvs,side by side utvs and Enduro motorcycles they can get were they want if needed. They have access to state police helicopter if a immediate extract of a person is needed with a Ariel winch basket. opinions are like _holes everybody has one.i get it you are paid to do a job and unfortunately for you the mass of ALL user groups are not in favor of what you the ppa and the father of your organization the njcf want.
 
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