Visit the Pinelands – new map improves access for visitors

Pinelands swans
Credit: Pinelands swans
The Pinelands Preservation Alliance advises that on August 4th the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the launch of a public access plan for the state’s largest tract of land, Wharton State Forest (125,000 acres). Wharton State Forest is located in the heart of the Pinelands National Reserve and covers much of Burlington County and parts of Camden and Atlantic County.

A detailed official map of the roads and features of Wharton State Forest was never available to the public before now. The public access plan and map will allow the state to better protect Wharton State Forest by designating certain areas for non-motorized recreation only. See the online map or look for printed maps and brochures at historic Batsto Village and the Atsion Recreation Area.

Over the years more and more roads have been unintentionally created due to illegal off-roading through the state forest. The Motorized Access Plan delineates the 225 miles of sand and unimproved roads intended for motor vehicle use while leaving other access areas for emergency vehicles, wildlife, and low-impact recreation. The MAP achieves balance and provides a guide to users of the state forest so visitors can identify safe areas to drive, bike, walk and boat.

Support DEP’s Motorized Access Plan to limit Pinelands ORV damage

ORV damage to Pinelands
Credit: Pine Barrens Under Siege website
Wharton State Forest has sustained a great deal of damage from Off Road Vehicles (ORVs), and the damage has hindered fire suppression efforts and search and rescue due to impassable roadways. Enforcement of illegal off-roading activities has been difficult without a map clearly designating areas for motorized vehicle use and areas where motorized vehicles are prohibited.

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance supports the DEP’s Motorized Access Plan to protect the natural resources and recreational opportunities in Wharton State Forest. Learn more about ORV damage on their website, including news coverage by NBC10 about the plan and an interactive map of damage done in the Pinelands by irresponsible off road vehicle use.

Take Action Today
Please let your legislators know that you support this Motorized Access Plan by calling or emailing them today. It is very important that they hear from you and that they support this effort by the NJ DEP to better protect New Jersey’s natural resources and encourage all types of recreation in Wharton State Forest.

Find your state legislators with this easy tool or send an email using PPA’s Take Action tool.

More on Pine Barrens damage from ORVs at Pine Barrens Under Siege.

2 thoughts on “Visit the Pinelands – new map improves access for visitors”

  1. Kimi Your are either misrepresenting the factors or you believe in fairy tales.
    closing down roads will not help the park police to better patrol the forest.
    Have you ever heard of directed patrol. That when your target specific problem area for enforcement. You can do that without having to close any roads. The problem is that the Park police is understaffed and I bet that the state does not want to pay out any overtime for special details as such.
    Also does roads have been there for at lest 50 years that I have been riding in there.

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