Who Really Owns Our Public Lands?

 

Who Really Owns Our Public Lands????

I have long been advocating that The DEP and Pinelands Commission should cease issuing permits for off-road event in our public lands. These permits are first approved by the Superintendents of the State Forest, then on to the DEP and finally approved by the Pinelands Commission’s staff and Executive Director. Now my case has become even more critical. On April the 9th, 2017 an enduro group is planning a race that will encompass Brendan T. Byrne State, Bass River State Forest, Penn State Forest and Wharton State Forest. That is one hell of a race to cover all of that territory. The event is called the Pine Barons Clock Run and will have appx. 150 participants. Just the fact that they are planning this event and the DEP is in line to approve it is not enough – they want to re-open the use of illegally cut “single track” that have been banded for years and have divided the forest up into Non-Sensitive and Sensitive area (see chart below). “Single tracks” are narrow paths chain sawed through the Pinelands by the dirt bike clubs and groups themselves. They were long ago been forbidden to do such cutting but now they want to start using them again. In dirt biker lingo “single track” = “trail”. Keep that in mind when view the videos below – very important, comparable to “alternative facts”, a very popular phase these days.

See What Is Going On YOUR Public Lands!

The videos presented here are taken directly from videos produced by various enduro groups and published on YouTube. First and foremost, I want you to see what an enduro looks like, remember they are doing the filming themselves.

This Is What A “single track” Race Looks Like

This video is what a “single track” looks like. It is a path cut through the forest with chain saws and loppers to open up a trail that can cover a lot of territory. There was recently a new one discovered in Bass River State Forest that was 5 (FIVE) miles long.

This next video tells, in their own words, what these trails are and that they are NOT fire cuts or plow lines.

This video explains, again in their own words, why these “trails” are so important. Not so sure we want to help build their male/female egos by allowing them the luxury of using our forest for their events.

We Should All Get Along?

Why should we all get along as this video voice over suggest? They have no concern for the environment, they cut paths into the forest at random (it is illegal), the noise is disturbing not only to hikers, hunters, fisherman, equestrians and kayakers it also scares the hell out of wildlife. There have been recent incidents of Pine snakes being killed on “single track” routes and as you can tell from the videos these machines are not friendly to any part of the ground they pass over.

Who Is Dividing Up Your Forest?

Somewhat secret meetings, starting around March of 2016, between the dirt bike community and representatives of the DEP have shown that there is a very friendly attitude toward the enduro crowd by the DEP. There have been proposals made to the DEP by conservation minded groups to help protect areas of the Pinelands that are getting constant abuse by off-roading practices but the DEP has yet to respond. They, the DEP, don’t want to accept help to preserve our forest but they will help enduro groups destroy it. Go figure! The map below of Brendan T. Byrne State Forest shows the forest divided up into Non-Sensitive (yellow) and Sensitive areas (green). The black lines in the Non-Sensitive (yellow) areas are routes that have been used by enduros – seems like every inch of the land is being run over by dirt bikes. It is thought that this same plan is also going to be applied to all the other State Forest in the Pinelands, Bass River, Penn State, and Wharton. DID YOU HAVE A VOICE IN THIS DIVISION OF OUR STATE FOREST???????  Most of us know that the entire Pinelands IS SENSITIVE.

potentialnonsensitiveareas_btb_reduced-1

Why just the Pinelands?

There are appx. 20 off-roading events approved by the DEP per year in the Pinelands. None of these event are held in Stokes State Forest, Round Valley Reservoir, or Island Beach State Park. What has the Pinelands become in the eyes of the DEP – a dumping ground for the events no one wants up north?  All of these events are never short lived. After these events participants from all over our state and the adjoining states, where this is not legal, return day after day, month after month and year after year to abuse our public lands because no one is watching. These events have developed a culture that believes our Pinelands is nothing more than a motorsports area – it seems the DEP feels the same way!

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Who Really Owns Our Public Lands?

  1. I have lived in the Pine Barron’s most of my 47 year life. As you posted but can’t wrap your own head around is it is PUBLIC. That means all people can use it. Want to ban bicycles? They do damage also. Horses? Damage and excrement for others to step on and get in waters. Boy Scout troops? They step on those precious plants. Let go of the tree and enjoy the forest the way you see fit. There are people that do harm in many ways. Illegal things done do the most harm. Not groups that get permission. They are also not Race’s. If you want to bash a group read up on it and get your facts straight. Worry more about the pipeline tearing through thousands of acre’s that will never come back. Or the group that cuts trees down to block roads and cause blockades to fire personel. That forest was there before you and will be there long after. Do some research. It was all cut down at one time but there it is.

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  2. Hi Michael, thanks for keeping tabs on my blog.
    Are you in a position of authority with an enduro club or group so you can express their opinions?
    I wish you would take me up on my offer posted in my last blog. Here it is just as a reminder:

    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.

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  3. I would like to set the record straight.
    To Al Horner –
    How would you like it if someone copied your pictures and distributed them without your permission?
    As you know that is exactly what you did to me. You know what that makes you. Guess what my next step will be!

    To others reading this –
    These clips, with the exception of the BTB map, are open to viewing by anyone interested, at:
    vimeo.com/86267015
    and with better clarity, definition and sound.
    I produced the video to make to the case for continuing enduros in the Pines. I would encourage everyone to view the original in its entirety.Among other things, you will find in the video, excerpts from the master plan. explaining that enduros are a legitimate activity.

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  4. Lots of misinformation and falsehoods on this article Al. I’ll help clarify since there are a few items you are uninformed about. Firstly, there are no new trails being created by any Enduro association, nor has the DEP allowed such actions. This is False.

    Second, Fire cuts have been, and continue to be created by the Forest Service not endand are intended to slow down and control fires from spreading. One of the references to “single track” in your video is a fire cut. Enduro clubs or riders do not create firecuts. In fact, many fire service personnel have been grateful for keeping these clear of debris, fallen trees, and branches since it helps control fires.

    Dirt roads and fire cuts serve a purpose to various users of the forest, including our first responders such as fire fighters. Without firecuts and access roads, the forest would be in grave danger of massive proportions. Each new storm falls new trees across these roads and fire safety fire cuts. For all intents and purposes, a firecut is single track. No revisionist history is needed here. There is much research behind the logic of cleanly cut and maintained fire cuts. Would a better option be to leave fallen trees, leaves, and branches to help the fire cross these cuts faster? Is that your preference? I’ve never seen a single user group help with fire cut maintenance besides organized and respectable enduro clubs.

    Thirdly, two-wheeled outdoor enthusiasts have not created any maps that determine whats a sensitive area or not. This is false. The use of the forest under the guidelines of the DEP is now more regulated than it has ever been in the past ~80 years of historic enduro competitions. Your insinuation that they are lax is also false. You clearly have not seen their paperwork, guidelines, and requirements which help prevent anyone from going into uncharted territory or trying to skirt the rules. This is again, false. There are strict guidelines and rules for how to properly use the various access points that have been in place before you were born. These competitions have been happening for ~80 years.

    As for surrounding states motorcycle community coming back to NJ to use our forests, thats a complete joke. Your statement that no other surrounding states allow these activities is fabrication or an “alternative fact” perhaps. Pennsylvania has an incredible network of multi-use trails and parks dedicated to these activities. New York has many activities as well. Again, false. Look up Lost Trails in PA as an example.

    Also, one of your videos features footage from trails on private property. This was not part of any state forest activity whatsoever.

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