Open Trails Ideas for Wharton State Forest

As posted about recently, Open Trails participated in the Stakeholder forums for the redevelopment of the M.A.P. plan.  Leading up to this forum, we consulted with members of many different groups and developed an approach that we think all users of the forest can support, which does not involve mass closures. You can review the ideas we developed and submitted to the DEP below.

Path Forward – Stakeholder Meetings

Update on MAP Plan and Stakeholder Forum

The Stakeholder forum meeting went very well. There were lots of great ideas shared and great interaction with the DEP. Also, in a show of goodwill and commitment to his word, Commissioner Martin has ordered that ALL the newly posted no motor vehicles be removed by the end of the day.

HOWEVER, it is more important than ever that we show up on Nov. 5 to show our support for the DEP’s change in position on the MAP.  We have not won and the forces on the other side will stop at nothing to reverse this recent victory. The good news is that we have achieved a very important goal, but it will be taken away from us just as quickly if we let the loud minority drown out our voices on November 5th.

If you support this cause we NEED you to attend the November 5th public meeting. This cannot be stressed enough.  The meeting will be held on 11/5 at 6:30 PM at Hammonton High School. Please register by calling 609-704-1964 or email before 10/28 to be able to attend.

Open Trails NJ to Participate in Stakeholder Forum, 10/22

Open Trails NJ will be participating in the Wharton State Forest Stakeholder Forum on 10/22.  We will be advocating continued responsible use of Wharton State Forest for all outdoor enthusiasts.  Some of of the key points we will be promoting are:

  • All USGS defined roads should remain open unless they meet objective, agreed upon, criteria to be closed
  • Enforcement of existing laws is paramount to solving problems in the forest
  • Need for community engagement-  education, transparency, clean up, volunteer labor/material

Outstanding News From the Office of the Commissioner- A clean slate!

Our friends at the NJOA have shared some excellent news from the DEP Commissioner, Bob Martin.   The DEP has heard the publics voice.  Effective immediately, the MAP Plan is suspended indefinitely.  All roads that were recently closed that do not pose a public safety risk or expose sensitive areas will be reopened.  Further,  from this point forward, the DEP is committed to starting with a “blank slate”, which is exactly what we have been asking for.  Thank you for all the work that you have all done to make your voices heard.  Let’s move forward in cooperation and develop a plan that will help solve the problems facing the forest while keeping it open for responsible recreation.  Please see attached for the letter.

Letter from Commissioner Bob Martin

A Beautiful Weekend For Outdoor Activities

Hope you all enjoyed this beautiful fall weekend, doing all the outdoor activities you appreciate. This photo was taken by a member of the Open Trails team yesterday at Batsto, doing one of the activities he enjoys, photography. The leadership of Open Trails NJ participate in a broad range of activities including hiking, kayaking, geocaching, hunting, enduro, photography, 4×4, etc. Our organization is dedicated to preserving the rights to the forest for all outdoor enthusiasts, whatever your hobby of choice.


Please Sign this Petition

The DEP has agreed to hold Stakeholder forums and a public meeting on the M.A.P.; however, we are gravely concerned with their approach. Instead of following through with their commitment to truly work with the stakeholders, they are instead starting with the M.A.P., and asking the stakeholders to defend their needs to the DEP.  Please sign and share this petition to help assure a fair stakeholder and public forum session.

Click here for the Petition

We need your help!

The DEP has indicated that many of the roads that were closed by the Motorized Access Plan (M.A.P) were either damaged or not really roads, however, we know this is not true

We need your help documenting roads that are proposed to be closed but that are clear, and undamaged.   Head out out to your favorite kayaking spot, hunting spot or the road you used to ride down just to get away from it all, but is now proposed to be closed to motor vehicles.  Not sure where to go?  We can help.

Please see this article on how you can help us document good roads We have made it easy! All the information you need is there and you can do it while your out and about in the forest this weekend.

This information can also be found in our menu at the top of the page.