Sometimes we need the hear the truth about our Pinelands and its real problems.

Yesterday I received this email from NJOA, NJ Outdoor Alliance (see below), https://www.njoutdooralliance.org/, a non-profit group representing “outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen” and a lobbying group to fight for their represented group’s rights, mainly around hunting and fishing and trapping issues ( a subject for further debate). They also claim to represent forestry and animal welfare groups (? on the latter). In any case, I take issue with the content of this email in regards to the first sentence which claims to have implemented the Wharton State Park,( known to many of us as Wharton State Forest), Motor Vehicle Plan (Wharton State Forest is appx. 125,000 acre State Forest in Southern New Jersey and our state’s largest State Forest). I also have to assume that the word “inpliment” used in their email, which is not a word, was it to mean “implement” (?) which is a word that closely resembles their word but which most directories explain to mean “to put into effect”. When it comes to the Wharton Motorized Access Plan (MAP) the NJOA did NOTHING BUT BLOCK its implementation, after the MAP went into effect, with their money and lobbying power. By some sort of proxy, they really represented Mudders (4×4 off-roaders who abuse the forest), dirt bikers (enduro riders) who have appx. 20 sanctioned events in the Pinelands every year but continue to abuse the forest day in and day out after their events (an interesting note is that the Pinelands is the only part of the state authorized to hold these events, they are not held in Stokes State Forest, Round Valley reservoir or other state parks like Island Beach State Park) , and ATV riders who operate illegally in on all public lands in New Jersey. NJOA claims to have a “voting block of 800,000” outdoor peoples (who knows how each of those 800,00 really vote – they make a large assumption that these people vote in favor of NJOA objectives – and reality is the our lawmakers fall for this type of rhetoric). Yet NJOA doesn’t seem to represent the hikers, kayakers, birders, equestrians and all folks who are interested in the “quiet” enjoyment of our forest, heck, aren’t they outdoor folks too (perhaps it is because they are the quiet majority that like QUIET in stead of uproaring voices, mud, destroyed wetlands, and noise in their forest)? Opposing the MAP was a HUGE MISTAKE by NJOA. They apparently misrepresented that the Wharton MAP was something that was going to close all activities, especially hunting and fishing, in Wharton and was going to be eventually impossed on all of our State Forest in the favor of “tree huggers” (this idea could have stemmed from the possibility some of its management may have friends and family who are, in fact, off-road abusers). Well, the suppossed,”800,000 persons” voting block were possibly  hoodwinked! The Wharton MAP would have given hunters, and others needing access, a permit to do so but in the meantime would have prevented the continued destruction of our State’s largest natural resource. It would have given hunters access to the forest without huge mud wallows that are not traversable, quiet enjoyment during their hunt ( who wants to be on stand waiting for the prized buck when 15 dirt bikes come roaring through your hunting area), and roads that first responders can not use to get to hunters in case of any emergency that may befall them. That is just the stuff that hunters have lost out on because of NJOA’s interference, what about the birders, hikers, kayakers, and parents taking their young ones on a hike to teach them the quiet enjoyment and peacefulness of our forest (the original intent for the preservation of our public lands)? NJOA did not help anyone but the off-road crowd to allow them to continue their relentless destruction of our beautiful public lands. Don’t get me wrong, as a past hunter and serious offshore fisherperson (I made a handsome living as a fishing tackle sales representative for many national companies in the industry), I feel that NJOA has done terrific work in many areas – but they BLEW this one!!!
It appears that “conservation” voting is for the betterment of the people and their natural resources, “conservative” voting appears to be a vote for special interest and money.

njoa-email

Email from NJOA

 

13 thoughts on “Sometimes we need the hear the truth about our Pinelands and its real problems.

  1. Mr. Horner, you cited in your blog the PB500 as having a violation of some sorts. PB500 was 100% compliant with its last event and has never had a violation of any rules in its history of events in the Pinelands or any other venues. Also, the PB500 is not an enduro type of event. Please correct your blog at your earliest convenience. I’d ask for your “verifiable” evidence, but it does not exist. 20170316PB500

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  2. Thanks Al for your reply. Very disappointing to hear that NJOA was not more receptive to feedback. I still hope that there are enough caring folks in the outdoorsman community to find meaningful solutions to eliminate or mitigate ongoing damage. Keep up the good work. Mike Kaliss

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  3. Thanks, Michael, for another coherent comment. My only dispute is that all the additional barricades……. are not working. We have seen it since March when the DEP posted a ton of signs, that no one seems to understand, and beefed up Park Police in Wharton hasn’t worked either because there is too much area for too few police officers and who have too few resources.
    I sincerely hope you take my blog challenge.

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  4. Mike Kaliss – Thought I would answer some of your comments so my position is clearly understood.
    …..NJOA attended all the Wharton MAP meetings and they did not, and never have, offered any comprise on their postion – No MAP because we want full use of the forest (sort of saying we don’t care about the health of the forest). There was no negotiations offered. Flat out they want what they want, to hell with the rest of the forest users.
    Regarding dual sport…….. That would be saying the erosion of the the enivronment is okay, the noise created by these machines is acceptable. also, remember these events can have hundreds of participates and if you are out for your quiet drive in the Pinelands, perhaps looking at and enjoying nature, scoping out a hunting area, or taking your children on a quiet hike you are be displaced. Should the Pinelands be under control, at anytime, by one group??? We could also concede that only half the pipeline route is okay. There is not place for pipelines in the Pinelands and there is no place to enduro events. It has created a culture that we can clearly seen is abusive to the environment.
    …..if nose could be reduced it would be helpful but it is up to the free market to create……
    I doubt the Free Market is interested in reducing noise as it would be very costly, millions in R&D alone. If they were interested they would have already done so. It certainly would help the situtation but it hasn’t for decades and decades.
    …….These enduro bikes are……. Well, that is all well and good but they never observe the 20 MPH speed limit imposed within the State Forest, they have created problems for first responders (there was even a recent death in a dirt bike accident (non-event but on the previous event route and two air lifts at an enduro event), They use what are known as “single track” routes cut at random in the forest, they use fire cuts they are forbidden to use after an event, and they will go in already establised routes in abused wetlands. I can show you all of this, so can Jason Howell.
    …Utilizing the existing trails…. The recent event, PB500, voliated this rule by using unauthorized trails, a problem that nags State Forest supers, ran over an area of endangered plant life.
    The evidence is clear they don’t give a damn about our forest, it is a motorsports arcade for them. They have clearly stated time and time again that they want full acces to OUR forest (as if it belongs to them)!

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  5. Hi, Michael. now have time to comment on your post -Michael Sweigart?iframe=true&theme_preview=true on January 1, 2017 at 11:58 pm said:
    I am going to try to do this word for word so there is little to misunderstand about my comments.
    Your comment:
    “misleading the public and creating false information”
    Rebuttal:
    Please be more specific about what is false information and misleading. All of my observations come from first hand observation, photos that I and others have taken, also YouTube is loaded with video taken by the very riders that are doing the destruction and misusing of the Pinelands.
    Your comment:
    “Do you know what an Enduro event is? ”
    Rebuttal:
    Yes, in my early days of photography I shoot for two days at the “Curl Fern” event and spent the night in a hunting cabin so I could stay close to the action. Me and my partner submitted the project, with favorable text, for publication to various high end newspapers. Unfortuntately, everyone rejected our proposal but the shooting and event were still thrilling, actually. Since then I have seen many vehicles run through the Pinelands, heck I am there all the time, how could you miss them.
    Your comment:
    “legally registered “motorcycles”, not just “dirt bikes, they have license plates and are registered via DMV, riders must have motorcycle drivers licenses and proper state-sanctioned equipment such as headlights tail lights brake lights, spark arrester mufflers.”
    Rebuttal:
    I have never suggested this isn’t true – I beleive all of this happens and is monitored closely to the credit of the event managers.
    Your comment:
    “No new trail is allowed. Not a single inch or trail. No detours no shortcuts, nothing.”
    Rebuttal:
    I find this to be not true. I personally can show you 6 single tracks, that are used, I have friends who have located others, and every Pine Barrens located State Forest Supt. I know has continually been plagued with events because the clubs have set up single tracks that are not part of the route but were intented to be used secretly. I know of one event that was shut down because of the discovery of single track not authorized by the route plan. The PB 500, a very recent event in Oct. 2016, was using an unauthorized trail, and, to boot, ran through and area of a highly prized rare plants. All verifiable.
    Your comment:
    “Any rider with alcohol would be not only disqualified but perhaps banned from the associations and National governing body that helps control and guide these longstanding events.”
    Rebuttal:
    I have never suggested otherwise. What is disconcerting is that after almost any event many participates return to the forest, day after day, week after week, year after year, and re-ride the route unauthorized. After the event they are not permitted to use fire cuts and single tracks but they do, and some of them consume alcoholic beverages while doing so, this too is avaiable on video.
    Your comment:
    “Anyone trying to go off the DEP-approved one-time use permitted trail would be disqualified immediately.”
    Rebuttal:
    This was not true for the PB500 event held in October, all verifiable.
    Your comment:
    “Passing unqualified and ignorant information to the public accomplishes nothing but push forward a false agenda.”
    Rebuttal:
    Everything I have said is undisputable, especially when it is front and center on a video on YouTube, a world wide venue, that is taken by the very people doing the misdeeds.

    I hope you understand that I am not against something organized but it has gotten to be out of hand,and, it is not healthy for the envoirnment. Even though these events have taken place for decades it does not make them right for the environment. The ecosystem is at stake here. I am looking at the entire resoucre and I am willing to give up some of my freedoms to use that resource without abandon, so it can survive for all time and future generations. You, and your compatriots, on the other hand, are interested in only your hobby rather than the rescource.
    You have not addressed the major issue with this particular blog post. The involvement of NJOA and their false statement to their supporters that they got the Wharton Motor Vehicle Plan implimented.That is pure BS !!!!!

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  6. Al- I feel that overall you have brought loads of exposure to some serious issues in the Pines. I grew up in Barnegat, and we would chop wood for our stove from our “backyard” but never cut a live tree. We fed flying squirrels and made wreaths from Holly trees, and rode our dirt bikes through old trails that were used for decades although many of those trails are long since overgrown. I moved up north but came back to the Pinelands with my family and we love it here, and agree yes there are issues. As much as some may not like it, all the additional barricades, fencing, steel cables and guardrails are really working. They are preventing our pines from getting torn up for fun.

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  7. Al, in the effort to protect the Pinelands from illegal use I think it would be helpful to outreach to NJOA to show how reducing illegal use would benefit their members. Getting hunters, fishermen, trappers and others to be at least neutral on protecting the Pinelands if not supportive should be the goal. Their lobbying and influence in Trenton in conjunction with “environmental” groups can act as a powerful force help shape constructive solutions to the illegal use of the Pines. Reducing the mudder caused road damage that restricts access to outdoorsmen and reducing the noise generated by illegal activity would be a good start. Regarding dual sport motorcycle enduro’s on DEP pre-approved routes I think we need to compromise and respect that organized enduros have been occurring in the Pines since 1932. If the noise could be reduced that would be very helpful but that’s something for the free market to create a better muffler system. These enduro bikes are street legal, registered and insured and from a legal standpoint banning them is not feasible (nor appropriate). Utilizing the existing sand road network and DEP approved trails is a fair compromise. The goal needs to be protecting the land and having a NJPC/DEP map of approved roads with non-motorized areas clearly shown would be a good start. Using the 1997 USGS as a starting point would be helpful.

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  8. Hi, Michael. I first want to thank you for your thoughtful responses to my blog post. It is very refreshing to hear from some who is articulate and not roaringly angry.
    I have a position on this blog that I will offer anyone with an opposing point of view equal time with their own categorized blog post that I will call “Opposing Point of view – Let’s listen”, the deal is 500 word Word doc. and photos and I will post it. I will waive the 500-word restriction for you. Keep in mind that the overall theme of my blog is the destruction going on with our Pinelands and the need to stop these actions and protect this valuable resource.
    At the moment I can not directly answer your current comment. I have very pressing business to attend to but will answer your comments later today or tomorrow, or as soon as I can.
    Albert

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  9. Again Al you’re misleading the public and creating false information for the public to take as the gospel truth. Do you know what an Enduro event is? Apparently no. It’s an organized, sanctioned event with legally registered “motorcycles”, not just “dirt bikes, they have license plates and are registered via DMV, riders must have motorcycle drivers licenses and proper state-sanctioned equipment such as headlights tail lights brake lights, spark arrester mufflers. There are
    Sound decibel tests and technical inspections of each legal vehicle. In addition please show all of us any evidence that trails are cut through any state forest for an Enduro event. Every single event goes through a thorough review by the DEP among other government oversight. No new trail is allowed. Not a single inch or trail. No detours no shortcuts, nothing. In fact prior trail used for decades has been removed so there is less trail and more “dirt roads” or blacktop roads than ever before. This is a clear cut example of your ignorance on what an Enduro is. Any rider with alcohol would be not only disqualified but perhaps banned from the associations and National governing body that helps control and guide these longstanding events. Again, some yeeha local on a motorcycle is not an Enduro rider or participant. No quads, no unlicensed motorcycles, no unlicensed riders and surely no intoxicated riders. Helmets required, googles, boots etc etc. Anyone trying to go off the DEP-approved one-time use permitted trail would be disqualified immediately. If you want to get “real” and have “honest” talk about this then you should at least know some very very basic differences between the types of users in the forest. Passing unqualified and ignorant information to the public accomplishes nothing but push forward a false agenda.

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  10. Okay, Michael, I just need you to be more specific. Outline this specifically “It’s clear you are losing some connection with reality here, Al. In fact I thin many should be concerned that you’re a “voice” for anyone representing any forest. Your previous posts and articles have turned into semi-coherent run on sentences with typos (typos? please re-read you post here) and poorly used punctuation and lets not forget the embellishments and over exaggerations.”. Can you answer more specifically some of the points I made in my commentary? You seem to interested in changing the dialogue from what I said vs what you have to say, but what you have to say has no basis. If you are going to comment don’t be so Republican by being non-specific about the issues and changing the dialogue. Many of your enduro riders have proven to be “the beer in hand” type, you only have to go to YouTube to understand that. Don’t know where you have gotten your information about “chop down live trees to block access and plant spikes and nails across trails” but it sounds just like internet false statements that have become better understood by the real people who care about our ecological environment. Please explain to me what the enduro community has done to protect our precious natural resources? From my point of view cutting single tracks into the forest by removing lots of trees and shrubs, a fact that can be easily verified by just talking to any Pinelands area State Park Supt., continually running over endangered species, using excess speed beyond the 20 MPH limit in our State Forest, and repeatedly compacting and eroding soil is not really very healthy for our Pine Barrens, not to mention the damn noise you all make. So I can image you may have 1000’s of dollars invested in a hobby that you love, I have a hobby that I love too and have invest 1000’s of dollars into photographic equipment in order to permanently record the beauty of our Pinelands. Your hobby is not all that useful to anyone but you. Selfish!!!! Please help to save our precious Pinelands – it is the only one we have!

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  11. It’s clear you are losing some connection with reality here, Al. In fact I thin many should be concerned that you’re a “voice” for anyone representing any forest. Your previous posts and articles have turned into semi-coherent run on sentences with typos and poorly used punctuation and lets not forget the embellishments and over exaggerations. If you do not know proper grammar or how to use spell check, you shouldn’t attempt to correct others. Do you honestly not understand the difference between and approved, governed, insured traditional Enduro event and some local yokels ripping around on quads with a beer in their hand? If not then others should assume that people like you all chop down live trees to block access and plant spikes and nails across trails. If works both ways.

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  12. Thank you Al for your unflagging defense of our right to enjoy the pine barrens in ways that do not destroy the beauty, peace, and solitude of our precious resource.

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