Contact Your Representatives

Take action today! If we do not stand up and take personal action today, than we should not be surprised by the consequence.

This page will walk you through process of contacting:

  • NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
  • NJ Governor Phil Murphy
  • Your NJ State Senators
  • Your Municipalities Mayor

We need you to contact each of these individuals and ask them to contact the DEP, share your concerns and ask them to advocate on your behalf

Let’s get started!

Step One- Articulate Your Concerns

Below are some of the concerns about this process that we have heard from you and have summarized here. Feel free to use this information to articulate how you feel, but it put it in your words.

Here are some important tips:

  • You message will have a greater effect if it is personal.
  • It might helpful to copy and paste your message into a Word document so you can easily copy and paste your message to send to the various representatives in Step Two.
  • Ask your representative to take direct action on your behalf and for them to contact the DEP and share your concerns with them
  • It is probably easier to do this on a computer than a mobile device

Bottom Line, Up Front Concerns

  • We are happy that they are engaging the public in this process, but the 30 day turn around for providing input is not acceptable  
  • We believe that there is already a complete baseline of roads in Wharton State forest.
  • We are not in support of a permit system, which would adversely impact responsible access to the forest
  • The public should take an active role in helping the DEP to maintain forest resources and educate visitors about sustainable use of the public lands, but the DEP have thus far been unwilling to accept help as offered
  • All results from the upcoming survey and stakeholder activity should be made public so the community can feel confident that the process is being handled fairly and transparently

Detailed Talking Points

The NJDEP is beginning a process to collect stakeholder input on the usage of Wharton State forest and plans to introduce a permit system.  The details of the current plan can be found here:

The DEP has opened an online survey to collect inputs for only 30 days and it will close on October 28th.  According to their own metrics, there are 800,000 visitors to Wharton State forest each year, however, only 250 people attended their first virtual meeting on the topic.  There were widespread reports of technical access issues and many were not aware the meeting even occurred

The Timeline is Inadequate

  • Considering the stated timeline for this effort is through mid 2023, 30 days is not sufficient for the most important part of this process, which is collection of input from the people of NJ
  • The DEP must keep the survey open for at least 90 days to make sure that everyone is aware of the process and has time to prepare and submit their input

Meetings Need to Be In Person

  • An in-person meeting with public comment must be part of the process.
  • Many had technical issues with the first meeting and there was no ability to ask questions about any subjects other than the mechanics of the survey
  • There are many users who are not “tech savvy” and will be unable to participate in the process online

Why Roads are Important

  • The roads in Wharton State forest have been important to the citizens of NJ dating back to the Revolution.
  • Wharton is a 120,000 acres and any sort of recreation in the interior of Wharton requires road access
  • This is especially important for those with children, the elderly, and the handicapped
  • We have experienced the beauty of Wharton State forest and we want our children and  grandchildren to be able to have the same experiences we have had
  • The current survey only allows submission of “areas” as opposed to “roads”.
  • The pre-1997 USGS Topographical maps are widely recognized as the most comprehensive baseline of roads that exists for Wharton State Forest and we are against the DEP establishing an additional map, even using public input.  

No Permits

  • The DEP has stated the intent to implement a permit system in Wharton State forest which will be modeled after Island Beach State Park.  This permit system is both extremely expensive and limiting and not appropriate for our state forests
  • Therefore, we are against the idea of motor vehicle permits for entering and using established roadways in our state parks and forests.
  • The costs and impacts far outweigh any potential benefits by putting and additional fiscal burden on families and potentially restricts their ability to enjoy and appreciate this natural resource

Volunteer Opportunities Need to be Leveraged

  • We believe there is a great untapped capacity for volunteer resource protection projects that the DEP has not really taken advantage of.
  • These projects could include blocking off sensitive areas of the forest but don’t impact the roads that provide access to these locations.  
  • The DEP needs to take advantage of these eager volunteers to help achieve their goals rather than considering any draconian measures which impinge on responsible motorized access.

Full Transparency is Necessary

  • All results from the upcoming survey and stakeholder activity must be made public so the community can feel confident that the process is being handled fairly and transparently.

We feel these positions are reasonable and in line with the beliefs of all NJ citizens who make responsible use of our beautiful parks and forests.

Step Two – Send Your Concerns

Now that you have your message assembled, let’s get it sent off to the appropriate parties! We made this as easy as possibly for you by either giving you the direct contact information or providing a way to look up your representatives.

Contact the DEP

  1. Send your message to:
  2. Ask them to take your concerns and recommendations into account

Contact the Governor

  1. Go to: Office of the Governor
  2. Fill out the form and paste your message above
  3. Alternatively (and additionally) call: 609 292-6000 and share you message with them
  4. For the Topic dropdown, select “Environment”
  5. For the sub-topic dropdown, select “Parks and Forests”
  6. Ask the Governor to contact the DEP and advocate for your concerns

Contact your State Representatives

  1. Go this page to find your representatives: NJ Legislature
  2. Look for your municipality in the list. When you find it, click on the blue district number button
  3. Under the picture of the Senator, click on the Contact your Legislator(s) link
  4. Send them your message
  5. Better yet! Use the number on the page to call them and let them know how you feel
  6. Ask them to contact the DEP and advocate for your concerns

Contact your Mayor

  1. We have created this file for you to look up your mayor. We will continue to add contact information there as we find it. Don’t see your Mayor listed? Let us know.
  2. Ask them to contact the DEP and advocate for your concerns
  3. They may push back and say this not their jurisdiction. If they do, remind them that in 2015, many municipalities passed resolutions condemning the Motorized Access Plan. You can share a link to those resolutions for reference