“An Overview” – Wharton State Forest
About this blog: I thought it is time for an overview of how vast the destruction problem is within the confines of just Wharton State Forest. Recently I found some other spots in Greenwood Wildlife Management Area that were so disturbing I cut my day short and went home. That experience told me it is time to show the magnitude of this problem focusing on Wharton State Forest alone. What you are seeing here can be multiplied by 10x and would probably not truly represent the problems state wide.
There are two Google Earth views here, the first a rather tight view of Wharton S.F. and the second a more zoomed out shot showing it’s place in a broader state perspective .
The red areas are areas that I personally have visited to see the abuse the off-road vehicles have done. Some of them have be reported here, but most of them are smaller areas that I have not been able to get to, and probably will not, because there are so many areas report. The smaller areas when added up become a lot of area! If you are interested in trying to identifying areas of abuse for yourself go to Google Earth and zoom into an area you know. Look for the sandy areas and vernal pools (green areas with no trees for the most part). Zoom in even further and you will actually see tire tracks that have been left by the off-roaders!
Soon to come with be a report on the infamous “1/4 Mile” the number one spot that has been destroyed by the off-road vehicle crowd. Although, one of the areas I just visited could replace its status because, at the very least, it is the future “1/4 Mile”.
I beg you to leave comments on either the home page or any of the blog pages that describe the destruction. We need to attack this head on and the we need more people willing to stand up to the challenge of this destruction. In other words, show how upset you have become over this problem.
Close up view of Wharton S.F. from Google Earth
A Larger view of Wharton destruction
“High Crossing” – Wharton State Forest
Location: Shamong Twp., Burlington County, Wharton State Forest
GPS location: N 39.76869/ W 74.64397
Directions: Carranza Road south, just beyond Carranza Memorial to the abandoned N.J. Central R.R. tracks, make a right just before the tracks, Park Road. Follow till you come to the squalor at the end of the road, about a mile, you can’t miss it, the road in front of you will be historic Old Tuckerton Stage Rd.
Local name: High Crossing
What is going on at this site: This is an historic site at the intersection of Old Tuckerton Stage Rd and the old N.J. Central R.R. Line. From here you use to be able to get to Hampton Furnace, Batsto or back to Carranza Rd., but you can not travel beyond this point now. Two of the roads lead to a most popular off-roading site (to be blog about at a later date) called “1/4 Mile”. High Crossing is an off roaders play ground in miniature. In all directions at this site there is nothing but water holes and mud holes to play in. The roads in all directions are impassable unless you have a max’d out Jeep. This area is in the heart of the Pinelands and normal people can no longer visit here.
What is there: Upland pine forest
“Jemima Mount” – Wharton State Forest
Face of Jemima Mount
Location: Washington Township, Burlington County, Wharton State Forest GPS location: N 39.71231/ W 74.61662
Directions: Rt. 206 to Quaker Bridge Rd. at the end of Atsion Rd, Quaker Bridge Rd. to Sandy Ridge Rd., right on Devious Mount Rd. to Jemima Mount Rd. About 6 Miles from Rt. 206 in the heart of Wharton State Forest.
Local name: Jemima Mount
What is going on at this site: This location is a remnant from the end of the ice age, approx. 12 thousand years ago. It is a 100′ + gravel ridge that extends about 1/4 mile in the middle of the typically flat Pine Barrens. THIS IS A MONSTER TRUCK WANTABES HEAVEN!!! The 4 x 4s and dirt bikes have scarred the face of this Pinelands anomaly beyond repair. On weekends large groups of 4 x 4s race up and down the hill to challenge their vehicles. Historically there is no road along the top of the ridge but one has been made over the years so there is no part of this beautiful ridge that has been left un-damage. The original scar on the face is so deep now it can not be traversed any longer so new roadways are being forged on the face of the hill, there are about five. Of course, there is the typical beer can debris and fire sites at the top of the ridge.
What is there: A magnificent oak and pine forest.
Video: Here is a video I pieced together from several, out of many, that are available on YouTube. These videos were made by the operators of the vehicles abusing Jemima Mount. They are so proud of their work they are willing to show it to the world.
Photo Gallery: This photo gallery will give only a mild sense of how horrible this area has been abused
“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.
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?
“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.
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.
“Atco Dragway Power Line” – Wharton State Forest
Location: Camden County, Waterford Township, next to the Atco Dragway on Jackson Road.
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.
“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
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.