Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pine Barrens threatened by Motor Vehicles

Today I received an urgent email from the Pinelands Preservation Alliance asking for my help to stop overland road vehicles, (ORV's) from trashing the Pine Barrens. On March 16, the New Jersey legislature will be voting on whether these vehicles should be restricted from areas like the back roads of Batso Village in Wharton State Forest in southern New Jersey.

I highlighted this area as a nice, peaceful place to ride, on or off road on Valentine's Day (see below).

But if ORV's are allowed to run amok in the forests, smashing roots, running over animals (they always do,) and killing the air, you can be guaranteed of one thing, a terrible bike ride next time you head down to the Pine Barrens. "Illegal riding of off-road vehicles is damaging over 300,000 acres of state park, forest and wilderness each year, and is costing the State and taxpayers almost a million dollars each year in damages without the ability to assign that loss to the responsible parties," said the PPA in their email.

Therefore, the organization is asking that you call your legislator and members of the Senate Environment Committee and ask them to support S2055, sponsored by Senator Bob Gordon, as legislators in the Committee are preparing to vote on Monday, March 16th!

The bills that are being introduced, A823 and S2055, would establish mandatory registration and tagging of off-road vehicles in order to help conservation officers, law officers, and residents hold illegal riders responsible for their damaging activities.

The bills also increase fines for illegal riders, creates stricter penalties for repeat offenders, and help to establish a fund that can be used for the creation of ORV parks and maintaining these parks to support those legal, responsible riders.

Below are members of the Environmental Committee. You can also call your state legislator.
Bob Smith - Chair - District 17 - Piscataway - (732) 752-0770
Jeff Van Drew - Vice-Chair - District 1 - Millville/Vineland - (609) 465-0700
Christopher Bateman - District 16 - Somerville - (908) 526-3600
James Beach - District 6 - Cherry Hill - (856) 489-3442
Andrew R. Ciesla - District 10 - Brick - (732) 840-9028
Robert M. Gordon - District 38 - Fair Lawn - (201) 703-9779

1 comment:

Andy B from Jersey said...

Just so you know, it is already illegal for unregistered motor vehicles (ie. dirtbikes & quads) to ride on the open public sand roads of the Pine Barrens. Licensed street-legal motorcycles are allowed on the roads open to traffic. However, all private motor vehicles are forbidden from the trails, even though they continue to be the primary users of those same trails.