About Albert Horner

Fine art landscape photographer with special emphasis on the New Jersey Pine Barrens

Destruction Site – “Friendship (Settlement)”

“Friendship (Settlement)” – Wharton State Forest

Foundation at Friendship

Location: Washington Twp., Burlington County, Wharton State Forest – Rt. 532 to Carranza Rd. in Tabernacle.  South on Carranza to its end at Speedwell Rd.

Friendship foundation

Friendship foundation

GPS location:   N 39.75121/ W 74.58486 Local name: Friendship or Friendship Bogs What is going on at this site: This is an historic site.  For a site map of the location when it was a viable cranberry operation see “Ghost Towns: and other quirky places in the New Jersey Pine Barrens”, by Barbara Solem, Plexus Publishing, page 135. This site was established in 1869 and was a 3000 acre cranberry farm. The 4x4s and ATVs are making a mess of the old foundations here driving into and around them causing the walls to collapse. All of the sand roads and fields around the area are disturbed by excessive use of off-road vehicles. Comment:  It is difficult to understand what enjoyment anyone  gets from driving their 4×4 or ATV into abandoned cellar holes and through the fields of an historic site!!!! Isn’t it enough that some of the off-road crowd have already reduced many areas of our public forest to nothing more then mud holes and denuded forest laced with hundreds of miles of unusable roads?

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Destruction Site – “Park Road”

“Park Road” – Wharton State Forest

Park Rd. mudding wallow

Location: Shamong, Burlington County, Wharton State Forest Directions: Carranza Memorial Road south from Tabernacle, just past the Carranza Memorial, but before the abandoned R.R. tracks, Park Road is on the left.

Park Rd

Google Earth image

GPS location:   N 39.77881/ W 74.62135 Local name: Park Road What is going on at this site: The area at Carranza Rd. and the abandoned R.R. is a popular meeting place for off-road vehicle enthusiast, individuals and clubs.  Park Rd. is no longer usable along the railroad bed because of the abuse by 4 x 4 vehicles.  There are deep mud wallows in the road, remains of previous fires, household debris and the normal beer cans scattered throughout the area.

What is there: Update: The Pinelands Commission’s surveys of the wetlands is this area have identified Fowler’s toads, Pine Barrens Tree Frogs, spring peepers, green frogs, southern leopard frogs and carpenter frogs………  

Upland forest with the popular Batona camping area and Carranza Memorial just north of the site.

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Destruction Site – “Atco Dragway Powerline”

“Atco Dragway Power Line” – Wharton State Forest

Location: Camden County, Waterford Township, next to the Atco Dragway on Jackson Road.

Google Earth image

Google Earth image

GPS location:   N 39.774626/ W 74.824720 at entrance to N 39.795455/W 74.825576

Local name: Atco Dragway Powerline

What is going on at this site: This is another example of a utility Right of Way that is unprotected and used as off-roaders haven.  This area abuts the Mullica River and all of this area is in the Mullica River watershed. There is very typical activity with the usual beer cans and trash everywhere, remnants of fires, destroyed wetlands, mud wallows, denuded areas. There is a large area of Pine Barrens sand ridges to the east of the roadway that stretch for 3/4 of a mile that have been over run with off-road traffic. Near the entrance to the area is a sand dune that has been created by continued ORV abuse.  The power company has actually made this area more accessible by laying a crushed rock roadway all the way to the Mullica River.

What is there: While there Carpenter and Pine Barrens Tree Frogs were heard.

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Destruction Site – “First Beach”

“First Beach” – within Wharton State Forest

First Beach Destruction

 

Location: Shamong Twp., Burlington County, within Wharton State Forest

1 mile east of Atsion Lake on Quaker Bridge Road

fisrt beach

GPS location:   N 39.73433/ W 74.71101

Local name: First Beach

What is going on at this site: Mullica River streamside beach in upland forest.  Once a quiet little beach that was a canoe/kayak launch and a nice place to look at the river. Now it is the off-roader’s simulated sand dune.  Over the years the beach has been greatly enlarged, eroded and de-vegetated by off-road vehicles riding up and down the slopes of the bank. Sand from the banks is washing into the Mullica River. There are new paths added to the area regularly.  This area is highly visible from Quaker Bridge Rd., but it doesn’t retard the illegal activity.  There are usually beer cans and trash in the area along with the charcoal remains of campfires.  Vehicle traffic there can be disruptive to hikers using the “Yellow Trail” that passes through the area.

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Destruction Site – “Burnt Mill Road”

“Burnt Mill Road” – Wharton State Forest

Sand Wash/Vernal Pool – Burnt Mill Rd.

Location: Waterford Twp., Camden County, Wharton State Forest

GPS location:   N 39.73313/ W 74.82101

Directions: From Hammonton, Rt. 206 north, left on Chew Road, right on Sandy Causeway, left on Burnt Mill for 2.73 miles, on left.

Local name: Unknown

What is going on at this site: This location on Burnt Mill Road is a microcosm of the destruction going on in the rest of our public lands, especially Wharton State Forest.  The Google Earth shot above shows many locations just within small this area that has been run over, de-forested, compacted, trashed, hacked, violated, plus the destruction of endangered flora and fauna in the many many ways of off-road vehicle misuse practiced by lots dirt bikes, ATVs, and 4×4 vehicles. If you stood at the intersection of Sandy Causeway and Burnt Mill Rd. on any given Saturday or Sunday you would probably observe every type of conceivable land abusing motor vehicle you could imagine. What is more astounding is that many, if not all as I have seen recently, are from out of state.

What is there: This is prime Pinelands upland forest, and what was once either a small sand wash or a vernal pool. All surrounding areas that are accessible by ORVs have been violated.  There is household trash, many bottles and cans (mostly beer). We observed green frogs in all of the wet areas.

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Destruction Site – “Power Line, Jackson Rd., Medford”

“Power Line, Jackson Rd, Medford” – Wharton State Forest

Location: Medford, Burlington County, western edge of Wharton State Forest

Google Earth map

Google Earth map

GPS location:   N 39.491327/ W 74.503610 to beginning on Jackson Rd.

Directions: Tuckerton Rd., Medford, south on Jackson Rd., 2.77 miles on left, across from entrance to Woodford’s Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge.

Local name: Power Lines

What is going on at this site: This is another prime example of an unprotected utility right-of-way.  1.5 miles of this right-of-way has been taken over by off-road vehicle traffic (dirt bikes, ATVs and 4X4 trucks) and is a known dumping ground of all manner of debris from household trash to construction and landscape materials. Along the 1.5 miles any area that can be accessed by an off-road vehicle has been damaged as well. Like the Waterford Power Line area the closer you get to developed areas the more vehicle abuse and trash dumping you seem to see. This section of Jackson Rd in Medford is subjected to much dumping of trash year around.  One thing I noticed more here than anywhere else is the cutting down of trees along with the usual large campfire remains.  This is one of the most western parts of Wharton State Forest and in the past was not visited much by the Park Police.  It is also in the watershed of the Mullica River.

What is there: This is prime Pinelands upland forest, forested wetlands and open wetlands.  We observed green frogs in all of the wet areas.

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Destruction Site – “Historic Stokes Road”

“Historic Stokes Road” – Wharton State Forest

Historic Stokes Road

Location: Shamong Twp., Burlington County, Wharton State Forest

Directions: Rt. 206 for .21 miles north of Atsion Rd/Atsion Lake. right on Hampton Rd for 1.22 miles, right on Stokes.

GPS location:   N 39.752187/ W 74.705439

Stokes Rd. Google

Local name: Stokes Road

What is going on at this site: This historic stagecoach road that originates in Burlington City and connects to Quaker Bridge Road has been made impassable by reckless off-road vehicles in the Wharton State Forest area.  The muddle wallows for 1/2 mile along this road are now so large that only 4 x 4s with oversized tires can traverse the area. This area also has a vernal pool section, accessible via the abandoned Central Jersey R.R. tracks, that has been driven through destroying the habitat.

Type of area: Upland forest, vernal pools and forested wetlands, historic dirt roadway.

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Destruction Site – “Batsto River Bend”

“Batsto River Bend” – Wharton State Forest (my name of the area)

Location: Shamong Twp., Burlington County, Wharton State Forest

Directions: Route 206 to Atsion Rd/Quaker Bridge Rd at Atsion Lake in Shamong Twp.  Quaker Bridge Rd. for 3.80 miles to Stokes Rd.  Left for .34 miles to beach area on Batsto River

Google Earth map of area

Google Earth map of area

GPS location:   N 39.715475/ W 74.671143

Local name: Batsto River

What is going on at this site: This is a beautiful location on that Batsto River that has been turned into a 4×4 test track and campsite.  THERE IS AN ENVIROMENTAL ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN HERE! The trucks enter the steep slopped beach and traverse along the river and up the other bank.  One truck turning over and spilling its fuel into the pristine Batsto River will be a disaster.  There are always active campfires going on here even when there is a fire band being issued for the forest.  The area is littered with beer cans and trash at all times.  It has been clearly posted that motor vehicles are not permitted but the signs are ignored or torn down.  The steep banks of the river have been breached in several places causing runoff of sand into the river.

What is there: Upland forested area with a beautiful streamside beach. Over the years the area has been greatly enlarged and eroded and de-vegetated.  While there we heard or observed Pine Warblers, Ovenbirds and White Breasted Nuthatch

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Destruction Site – Atco/Waterford Twp.

“Atco/Waterford Twp.” – Wharton State Forest  western border

Location: Waterford Twp./Atco, Camden County, Wharton State Forest western border

4 1/2 miles of destruction

4 1/2 miles of destruction

Directions: Route 30 to Jackson Road in Berlin.  East on Jackson to Atco Raceway.  Just passed the raceway on the right at the high tension power line.  From Shamong west on Jackson Road to just before Atco Raceway on left.

GPS location:   On Jackson Road N39.774395/W74.824813 north entry, continues to N39.753127/W74.873135

Local name: Power Lines

What is going on at this site: This is a classic example of a power line right-of-way that has become a haven for the 4×4, ATV, dirt bike crowd. Most of these areas are totally unprotected and open to anyone you cares to use them.  It seems that the power companies would not want people to have access to their high tension power line towers and would do what they could to prevent access.  This area is the western border of Wharton State Forest with many access points into the forest.  It is bordered on the west by many Waterford Twp. residence who are plagued by off-road vehicle (ORV) traffic day and night.  The open access also promotes illegal dumping. This is a mudders heaven and the meeting place of many groups and off-road clubs! The other side of Jackson Rd., that borders the Atco Raceway, is also a ORV haven of much desire and will be dealt with in a later blog.

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Destruction Site – Paradise Campground area blueberry field

“Paradise Campground area raceway in a blueberry field”

_MG_9074

Location: Hammonton, Atlantic County, Wharton State Forest

GPS location:   N 39.68709/ W 74.74297

A blueberry patch turned into a raceway

A blueberry patch turned into a raceway

Local name: Unknown

Directions: Route 206 N. to Paradise Lane Campground road on right, right on second dirt road, vernal pool on left (also destroyed), blueberry field on right.

Type of Area: Open wetlands/forest wetlands/vernal pool

What is going on at this site: This site has been turned into a virtual 4 x 4 off-road vehicle and ATV raceway .  There is about a 1/4 mile circular track through the area with many off shoots invading surrounding forested area.  The usual dumping is going on with beer cans, tires, construction debris.

What is there: Green frogs, Carpenter frogs and Pine Barren Tree frogs

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Destruction Site – Historic “Old Tuckerton Stage Road”

Old Tuckerton Stage Road, Tabernacle Twp., Burlington County- Wharton S.F.

Rutted roadway Old Tuckerton Stage Rd.

Location: Tabernacle Twp., Burlington County, Wharton State Forest

Directions: Route 532 to Tabernacle, South on Carranza Rd toward Carranza Memorial

GPS location:   N39.78026 / W74.65311 first disturbance, about .44 miles from entrance at Carranza

Local name: Old Tuckerton Stage Road.

What is going on at this site: This is yet another example of the insane destruction we have run into.  For NO apparent reason 4 x 4’s have run up and down a section of Old Tuckerton Stage Rd. making the ruts so deep that without extra large tires you cannot traverse the area.  It is difficult to understand the reasoning these land-muggers created this in-road disaster other than not wanting anyone else to have access to this road/area. Just .4 miles farther on the road is an area that a couple of years ago was destroyed in the same manner.  There the Forest Fire Service had to repair the damage and took roadside sand to fill the holes and ruts.  This created a small crater with hills and mounds around it.  Within days the 4 x 4’s were challenging the hills and mounds with their vehicles which was probably as exciting as a kiddies roller coaster on an Ocean City amusement pier.  See picture of that below.

_MG_1035Behind the berms are campfire areas and, of course, the ubiquitous trash.  Actually most of the entire length of Old Tuckerton Stage Road, appx. 8.5 miles to Washington Turnpike, is now impassable by any vehicle other than monster 4 x 4’s.  Guess that trip into history is going to have to be put off.

See Google Earth image below

Google map of area

Later in this series we will show places like High Crossing along this route that truly demonstrates the devastation that is going on in this area, our public lands.

What is there: Upland Forest

Below is a slide show of images taken at the location.

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Destruction Site – “Rockwood Road”

Rockwood Road, Hammonton, Atlantic County- Wharton State Forest

Rockwood Rd. wetlands intrusion

Location: Hammonton, Atlantic County, Wharton State Forest

Directions: Route 206 N. from Rt. 30 in Hammonton to Rockwood Rd on East side of Rt. 206.  1.5 miles to first large disturbed area.

GPS location:   N 39.69396/ W 74.71275-Appx. 1.5 miles miles from the entrance on Rt. 206.

Local name: Rockwood Road

What is going on at this site: The road, and all of the wetlands around it, have become one big mudding area for large 4 x 4 trucks and ATV’s.  The first large mud wallow is so deep that without large, illegal, tires you can not cross it. From this large mud wallow it is approximately 5 miles to Route 542 at Pleasant Mills Church. This is a large area of the Pinelands National Reserve that is no longer available to the general public since the parallel road, Paradise Rd/W. Mill Rd., is also impossible to travel and the bridge behind Pleasant Mills Church has been destroyed and has not been rebuilt. The total area represents hundreds and hundreds of acres of prime pinelands.

See Google Earth image below

Google Earth image of Rockwood Rd. area

Google Earth image of Rockwood Rd. area. Red outline is area no longer accessible.

What is there: open wetlands. forested wetlands and a long string of vernal pools

Native  Species:    Heard Pine Barrens Tree Frogs

Video: The truck in this video is not even legal to travel on NJ roads but is able to travel in broad daylight to this location.

Below is a slide show of images taken at the location.

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Destruction Site – “Cherry Hill Road”

“Cherry Hill Road” – Wharton State Forest

Google Earth view of entire road

Location: Shamong Twp., Burlington County, Wharton State Forest

Directions: Route 206 south from Atsion Rd./Atsion Lake, Shamong Twp. .088 Miles to entrance on left (east side of Rt. 206)

GPS location:   N 39.728225/ W 74.7289295 -.17 miles from the entrance on Rt. 206. The first area of destruction is a forged roadway that leads back to a long series of vernal pools.

Local name: Cherry Hill Road.  A long time local resident claims it got its name because a cherry tree grew on a sand hill there.

What is going on at this site: The magnitude of this site is best seen with the Google Earth image at the top of this post.  It is heavily used by 4 x 4  and ATV enthusiast for the entire 2.2 miles that it traverses.  I counted 39 water/mud/wallow holes along the road.  One area is a shooting range and quasi dumping area.  In one of the large waterholes we observed two small pickerel fry.  Every area that can be entered with a heavy 4×4 vehicle has been invaded. If this dirt road is needed by the Forest Fire Service during a forest fire event it could be very difficult, or even impossible, to travel on this road with their fire wagons.

What is there: Canby’s Lobelia, lobelia canbyi

Native  Species:    Green and Southern Leopard Frogs

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Destruction Site – “Little Quarter Mile”

“Little Quarter Mile” – Wharton State Forest

Location: Waterford Township, Camden County, Wharton State Forest

Directions: Route 206 N to Chew Rd right on Sandy Causeway, 1.5 miles left on dirt road, .25 miles to vernal pool

GPS location:   N 39.72385/ W 74.77576

Local name: Unknown (we named it Little Quarter Miles because it appears to be the beginnings of another 1/4 Mile which will be covered in a later blog)

What is going on at this site: The area was opened up after a forest fire several years ago.  It was a vernal pool but now resembles just a mud hole.  There is activity here day and night with 4 x 4 trucks and ATVs.  The  area is even frequented by families with small children.  Several campfire locations, scattered clothing, trash, beer and soda cans and bottles.

What is there: Invasive phragmites, phragmites australis.

Native  Species:    Green and Southern Leopard Frogs

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Destruction Site – “Forbidden Pond”

“Forbidden Pond” – Wharton State Forest

110 07.11.14 site 078

Location: Waterford Township, just north of Chew Road on Sandy Causeway .16 miles

GPS location:   N 39.70705/ W 74.77822

Local name: Forbidden Pond

What is going on at this site: This is a beautiful vernal pool in a forested wetlands area of Wharton State Forest.  The perimeter of this pond has been used as a mudding track for 4 x 4s and ATVs.  It is also a party spot, lots of trash and beer cans, even a mattress.

What is there: Floating Heart (Nymphoides cordata) classified as RARE, FrogsFloating Heart and Toads at this location are: Fowler’s Toad, Pine Barrens Tree Frog, Northern Gray Tree Fog, Spring Peeper, NJ Chorus Frog, Bullfrog, Green Frog, Wood Frog, Southern Leopard Frog and Carpenter Frog – all of these frogs have been surveyed by the scientist of the NJ Pinelands Commission.