58% or 274 Miles of Roads in Wharton Have Been Closed

In the press release from the DEP, it was almost spun as if the Motorized Access Plan (M.A.P.) expanded access.  In the FAQ, it was claimed that “the majority of the roads are open”.  However, the DEP has been less than honest about the extent of the road closures.  An assessment was done by Open Trails NJ and we found that 58% or 274 miles of roads have been closed to motor vehicles.  Please see the attached for a visual.  A KMZ file could be provided upon request for independent review.

Wharton Closures- Presentation JPG

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Restore Fair Access to Wharton State Forest
Petition by Ben Ruset

To be delivered to Bob Martin, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Mark Texel, Director of the State Park Servuce, The New Jersey State House, and The New Jersey State Senate


The sand roads in Wharton State Forest have been open to motorized traffic even before the state purchased the tract from the Joseph Wharton estate. While there are serious concerns about the damage that illegal off-road vehicle traffic causes, the blanket closing of over 50% of the roads in the forest is not the answer. This action will only serve to keep law-abiding people out while doing nothing to curb the abuse from the minority who drive destructively. By and large the effect will be felt by citizens who do not even drive vehicles capable of creating the kind of damage that this policy attempts to address.

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Solving the Problems Facing our Forests while Maintaining Access for Responsible Recreation