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NJ Wharton State Forest Under Attack


Mr. Truckles

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Hello New Jersey Explorers,

Without any warning or input from the community, most of the public access roads that have been used and enjoyed by us and our families for over a century have just been closed. This is currently affecting thousands of NJ citizens who can no longer utilize the park.

Superintendent Robert Auermuller, along with the non-profit NGO "Pinelands Preservation Alliance" are the main parties responsible for this shift. They attempt to point the blame toward irresponsible and destructive vehicle operators, while ignoring thousands of responsible park goers. They are re-organizing park by setting up steel road blocks, excavating, and going as far as cutting down a great number protected native trees to make trails impassible. Trees have also been cut down on town roads not belonging to the park without consent.

It is realized by many that none of these actions will stop the 1% of destructive operators when there are only 3 rangers patrolling over 115,000 acres of land and over 500 miles of road.

This is a tragedy to the people of New Jersey as Wharton State Forest is the only piece of land in the state with motorized accessibility. More than three quarters of the park are now inaccessible to sportsman, outdoor enthusiasts, explorers, photographers, geocachers, exc. The sections of the park still accessible will be occupied by a for profit paddlesport company that is OWNED by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance(PPA).

We have started several facebook groups and we are making definite progress towards reversing what is happening. Thankfully our voices are being heard, but we need as much support as we can.

Below are links to one of our facebook pages, an article summarizing the situation, a petition, and a donation site that has been set up to help us start an NGO to support open trails, conservation, education, and enforcement. Being that this is our last chance to save motorized exploration in New Jersey, and we will have nowhere to go without burdening other states, any support is greatly appreciated.

:usa: Thanks Everyone.

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/930187020358299/

Article:
http://www.njpinebarrens.com/your-forest-under-attack-road-closures-in-wharton-state-forest/

Petition:
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/restore-fair-access-to.fb52?source=s.icn.fb&r_by=14033759

Donation:
http://www.gofundme.com/opentrailsnj



 


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colintrax

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Don't live in NJ, but I signed anyways
 




Mr. Truckles

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Don't live in NJ, but I signed anyways

Thanks! Every signature counts, even if it's from out of state. If we succeed with this you're more than welcome to join us on a trail ride if you find yourself in NJ :thumbsup:
 




colintrax

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Thanks! Every signature counts, even if it's from out of state. If we succeed with this you're more than welcome to join us on a trail ride if you find yourself in NJ :thumbsup:

Thanks, I'll be back to NJ at some point :biggthump
 




rkh58

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Petition signed and shared to my Facebook page. Help reach the new goal of 2000 signatures.
 




Mr. Truckles

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Thanks rkh! It would be great to reach 2,000.

We have been doing very well so far, but PPA and Al Horner are beginning to counter attack. Their methods are posting pictures of the destruction in the park. The most profound pictures are ones of the dumping that has been going on there, and spots that were torn up by massive trucks and deuce and a half's years and years ago. Both are activities that we don't condone. Many of the pictures, however, are just usual tire grooves in soft sand.

It's been difficult trying to convince people originally on their side that the closures will actually benefit the people doing the dumping and starting garbage fires. If they have that much of a disregard for the rules than closing the roads only means they won't be seen by the honest people who would like to report them and continue enjoying their day.
 




rkh58

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Where are all the Jersey members? Lets try and keep what little open space we have left here open to all.
 




Mr. Truckles

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Update:

Bill Caruso Is now on our side and is helping to defend us. He is a registered lawyer/lobbyist in the state of NJ. Former Executive Director to the NJ General Assembly under two Speakers as well as the former Chief of Staff to a South Jersey Congressman

"As of 4pm [yesterday], we have the DEP and the Chair of a relevant committee in the legislature looking into how this was approved. While I doubt we'll hear anything back until next week (at the earliest) good to know that this is not being ignored."

Thanks everyone.
 




colintrax

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Maybe send an email to the Chris christie campaign. Not sure what kinda power he has over this, but it can't hurt. He's trying to get the GOP nomination, and having public land closed in his state isn't going to help his bid
 




Aiezzi

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Signed and shared! Some of my favorite past times have been in Wharton! This is unfair and not right for the people who enjoy it for its tranquility and beauty.
 




Mr. Truckles

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Thanks Aiezzi! and Colin, I agree. We've been sending letters to pretty much everyone we can manage. Apparently the phones in trenton have literally been exploding :thumbsup:
 




albi1cnobi1

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Signed and shared! We're at almost 2500 signatures, lets keep it going!
 




Mr. Truckles

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Thanks Al!! It's great to know that so many people are joining up. If anyone is a member of any other forums feel free to share on them as well! We have also contacted organizations such as Tread Lightly asking for their opinion on ways to promote responsibility.
 




LiKuiD

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Signed and sent out to others as well.
 




Mr. Truckles

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Thanks likuid. It seems that now people are becoming more aware of the issue, new information pops up every day. We're trying hard to keep the facts we know straight and in the open.

Here is another picture showing an example of how these roads were closed, apparently in the name of preserving the forest...

These were green and growing trees that were cut down with a chainsaw. We are not sure how they expect fire teams to be able to get in there.
 

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LiKuiD

bahhhhhhhhh
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These were green and growing trees that were cut down with a chainsaw. We are not sure how they expect fire teams to be able to get in there.

Ugh what a shame...nothing says forest preservation like cutting down trees to keep people out...
 




Mr. Truckles

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Here is an update for any of you who are interested. So much progress has been made since the start of all this. The MAP plan has been halted by the DEP thanks to the tireless efforts of many excellent people, and the 8 municipalities that have passed official resolutions opposing it's implementation. Open Trails NJ has also been successfully formed. It's not over yet though. The next stage is without a doubt the most critical and everyone's help is needed!!!

Feel free to visit the Open Trails NJ website for up to date information!
http://www.opentrailsnj.org/


Image from the parks & forest section of the NJ DEP website.
http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/
 




albi1cnobi1

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Thanks for the update. I'm going to register and attend that meeting.
 




BKennedy

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Might never end up in New Jersey, but I signed the petition. Any closure of our public lands effects us all. We have had a few of the few remaining trails closed in the local NF with no notice, and no recourse. It sucks.
 


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