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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795 Vincent Grassi (609) 984-1795(23/P006) TRENTON – Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today the Department of Environmental Protection will present the results of its Wharton State Forest Visitor and Vehicle Use Survey and gather public input during the second in a series of virtual public meetings on the development of a plan for public access while protecting natural resources...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795 Vincent Grassi (609) 984-1795
(23/P006) TRENTON – Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today the Department of Environmental Protection will present the results of its Wharton State Forest Visitor and Vehicle Use Survey and gather public input during the second in a series of virtual public meetings on the development of a plan for public access while protecting natural resources and ensuring public safety in the state forest. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Pre-registration is strongly recommended due to expected high public interest.
The DEP is committed to robust public input as it develops a long-term plan that considers multiple user interests while protecting the sensitive ecosystems and cultural resources found within Wharton State Forest, the largest tract in the New Jersey State Park System. The DEP received 1,610 surveys that were submitted online, by email, and through traditional mail between Sept. 28 and Nov. 11, 2022. Participants provided information about the activities they enjoy as well as how frequently they enjoy them. After a presentation of the survey results, the public will be invited to provide comment.
“We strongly encourage everyone who enjoys Wharton State Forest to register early to attend this virtual public meeting, part of a comprehensive process the DEP is implementing to address diverse user needs in Wharton in a manner that is safe and responsible,” said Commissioner LaTourette.
“People enjoy Wharton in many different ways, whether to hike, canoe, camp, watch wildlife, fish, hunt, or to drive along the forest’s many miles of unimproved roads,” he continued. “As we continue to advance the development of this plan, we must be sure to do so responsibly so that the ecologically sensitive plants and animals found in this special place are protected for all to enjoy, as well as all of its natural beauty.”
Feedback from the meeting will be used to develop public information materials, including signage, brochures and maps that delineate safe and legal routes for motor vehicle usage to protect culturally and ecologically sensitive resources within the state forest. The DEP expects to host a third public meeting this summer, during which the public information materials will be presented. After the materials are presented, another public comment period will be held.
During the Feb. 8 virtual meeting, the DEP will also provide the public with an update on the DEP’s proposed permit system for accessing some State Park Service-owned roads. Still in the early steps of consideration, a permit system would assist in ensuring users have an adequate understanding of road conditions and vehicle requirements when traveling in remote areas of the state forest.
As part of its commitment to public engagement, and during the survey process, DEP officials met with municipal and county leadership in communities surrounding Wharton State Forest. Meetings allowed the DEP to hear directly from community leaders and afforded an opportunity to explain the intent of the survey. Municipalities that accepted meetings include Tabernacle, Washington and Woodland townships in Burlington County, and Waterford and Winslow townships in Camden County. The DEP has also met with key stakeholder groups, including the Pinelands Commission, to provide input on this process.
“We continue to take steps to implement a transparent process with park users, area residents and local governments about our intentions to better address the wide array of recreational activities which take place in Wharton State Forest,” said John Cecil, Assistant Commissioner of NJDEP’s State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. “This next meeting provides an additional opportunity to add to the current understanding and listen to additional feedback on how the state forest is accessed and used.”
The virtual public meeting will be hosted on Microsoft Teams. It is recommended those wishing to attend download and install Microsoft Teams onto their devices (computers, laptops, phones, etc.) before the meeting date to reduce the chances of technical difficulties during the meeting.
A “test call” can be made to ensure your microphone and speakers are working ahead of the meeting by going to “settings” and then clicking “devices” in the Teams application. For more information and to download Microsoft Teams visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/
Public comments will be limited to two minutes per person to give everyone a chance to speak. The public may also submit written comments on the State Park Service website. To register to make a public comment during the meeting or to submit a written comment visit: http://njparksandforests.org/wharton/
On Sept. 27, 2022, a virtual public meeting outlined the Visitor and Vehicle Use Survey and answered technical questions about the use of the associated mapping tools within the survey. A recording of that meeting can be viewed on the DEP’s YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/dyT2mh_Rkto
About Wharton State Forest
At 124,350 acres, Wharton State Forest is the largest tract of land in the New Jersey State Park system and is within the million-acre Pinelands National Reserve, recognized for its unique natural resources and designated as a U.S. Biosphere Reserve of national and international significance. The state forest sprawls across portions of Atlantic, Camden, and Burlington counties and is one of the most popular destinations in the state park system.
The DEP lists 43 animals found in the state forest as threatened or endangered, including the Pine Barrens tree frog, timber rattlesnake and pine snake. The state forest also boasts some 750 species of plants, including wild orchids, sedges, grasses and insect-eating plants. Rare plants include the bog asphodel, swamp pink and Pine Barrens gentian. The predominant trees are the pitch pine, various oak species and Atlantic white cedar.
Visitors are reminded that off-road vehicle use of any kind (for example, ATVs, side by sides and other motorized vehicles) is illegal on all state-owned lands. Vehicles operating in a state park, forest or wildlife management area must be street legal, registered, plated, insured and operated by a licensed driver on an established road.
Enforcement of illegal off-road vehicle activity is ongoing. In 2021, the State Attorney General’s Office was successful in securing an increase in fines for illegal off-road vehicle use and damages. Fines now start at $250 to $500 for a first offense, $500 to $1,000 for a second offense, and a minimum of $1,000 for a third or subsequent offense. If a violation results in damage to or destruction of natural resources, an additional fine of five times the cost of the damage may be assessed.
Park visitors who encounter ATVs on or off established park roads or see suspicious or illegal activities on the Department’s entrusted public lands may call 1-877-WARNDEP (1-877-927-6337). Additionally, there is a Warn DEP iPhone and Android application that allows visitors to report environmental abuses, including off-road vehicles. For information on how to download the application, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/warndep.htm
For more about New Jersey’s Parks, Forests & Historic Sites, visit: www.njparksandforests.org/
Like New Jersey’s State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites page on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/newjerseystateparks
Follow the New Jersey State Park Service on Instagram @newjerseystateparks
Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP, Facebook @newjerseydep, Instagram @nj.dep and LinkedIn @newjerseydep
WATERFORD - The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has reported "significant progress" in bringing a Wharton State Forest wildfire under control, even as the blaze grew to 1,500 acres and spread from Waterford to Medford and Shamong.As of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the blaze was 85 percent contained, the fire service said.But the agency added, "An observational flight this morning indicated that there are internal pockets of unburned fuel that will continue to burn today."It said no buildings were...
WATERFORD - The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has reported "significant progress" in bringing a Wharton State Forest wildfire under control, even as the blaze grew to 1,500 acres and spread from Waterford to Medford and Shamong.
As of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the blaze was 85 percent contained, the fire service said.
But the agency added, "An observational flight this morning indicated that there are internal pockets of unburned fuel that will continue to burn today."
It said no buildings were threatened by the fire, which had been 75 percent contained at 9:30 p.m. Monday.
The fire's containment area includes forested land in Medford and Shamong and some along Jackson Road in Waterford, where flames broke out Sunday night near the former Atco Dragway.
Jackson Road was closed shortly from Atsion Road to Tremont Avenue before noon Monday and will remain closed until further notice, the fire service said.
No other road closings were expected.
Camden County officials urged motorists to find alternate routes around the fire.
The county's department of public safety was ready "to support the state with any needs they have while they fight this wildfire in Waterford,” County Commissioner Jonathan Young, the agency's liaison, said Monday.
“Nevertheless, and maybe more importantly, we need drivers to stay off Jackson Road in that area, so the firefighters can do their work and (to benefit) the health and welfare anyone entering the area by car.”
Who's failing on air quality in SJ?How is air quality in South Jersey, and what's being done to improve it?
When initially spotted early Sunday night, the fire was estimated at 100 acres along Jackson Road.
By 10 a.m. Monday it had spread to another 400 acres. A few hours later, it had tripled in size.
The Fire Service said crews used "a backfiring operation (Monday) to burn fuel ahead of the main body of fire throughout the day."
The agency said the fire was reported around 5:30 p.m. by its Medford firetower, then was triangulated by the Apple Pie Hill tower in Tabernacle.
Atco Dragway, also on Jackson Road, closed abruptly in mid-July. It announced the shutdown in a Facebook post that gave no reason for the track's demise after 63 years.
Visit https://twitter.com/njdepforestfire for other information.
This story will be updated.
We’ve gotten very spoiled with all that New Jersey grocery stores have to offer lately. Grocery shopping is no longer about simply picking out apples with no bruises and checking out which cereal is on sale.Modern grocery shopping in NJ has become a vastly different experience and all of the new grocery stores popping up all over the place have only served to make competitors up their games.It’s not enough anymore just to be a great supermarket that carries a lot of stuff and has good customer service. Today you&rsq...
We’ve gotten very spoiled with all that New Jersey grocery stores have to offer lately. Grocery shopping is no longer about simply picking out apples with no bruises and checking out which cereal is on sale.
Modern grocery shopping in NJ has become a vastly different experience and all of the new grocery stores popping up all over the place have only served to make competitors up their games.
It’s not enough anymore just to be a great supermarket that carries a lot of stuff and has good customer service. Today you’ve got to be all things to all people.
You’ve got to keep up on the latest food trends and make sure you’re satisfying every culinary curiosity. So many of the aforementioned new stores have come to town and have accomplished that goal. But up until now, a lot of New Jersey’s classic grocery stores, the ones even your grandma shopped at, have fallen behind.
Enter ShopRite of Wharton, NJ.
ShopRite of Wharton recently debuted a concept called Fresh to Table, which customers have already been experiencing at ShopRites in Bloomfield, Greenwich, Burlington, Newton, Sparta, Byram, Mansfield and Succasunna, among other locations.
With Fresh to Table, customers can find easy-to-prepare ingredients that will make you say goodbye to your meal subscription boxes. The unique, on-trend foods you’ll find there are the ones you’re looking for today.
And the best part is that these fresh-to-table items are available in grab-and-go formats to accommodate the needs of busy New Jerseyans.
ShopRite is calling this a “store within a store” concept. It’s so important now to make things both fresh and easy because it will make for great convenience, too.
Busy because they have ready-to-cook items, ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat meals with prepped ingredients. It’s perfect for people who want to eat and also feed their families, fresh and healthy food but don’t have as much time to plan meals, and to execute them, as perhaps cooks did a generation ago. It’s a one-stop shop.
And of course, if you don’t want to stop, its fresh produce meals, and snacks, can be ordered through ShopRite’s online grocery store.
Let’s hope that this debut marks just the beginning of a trend like this across more supermarkets.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
You can now listen to Dennis & Judi — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite best friends anytime, anywhere and any day of the week. Download the Dennis & Judi show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.
Learn about the 13 potential shortages that could impact stores in 2023, from produce and meat to snacks and beverages.
Jen Gunter / Unsplash
It was late last year that we started hearing about the potential for a shortage of oranges. The reason, according to CNN, was poor weather and orange plant diseases during the latest growing season.
Maddie Hamilton / Usplash
As we have all seen over the last few years, the price of beef has gone through the roof. And, we're not just talking about higher end cuts, either. Even ground beef has climbed. As we are seeing a reduction in the amount of beef available, prices could climb even higher. According to the Washington Times, a drought in Texas, which reduced the amount of grass available for grazing, has led to a shortage of beef.
Alan King / Unsplash
The reason we could see a shortage of pet food is not because of the food itself, but because we will likely see a shortage of the aluminum used in the manufacture of the cans.
Nico Jacobs / Unsplash
According to The Daily Meal, because there was a drop in the consumption of champagne during the pandemic, the organization that controls champagne production ordered a reduction in the amount that is manufactured. Because of that, we could see a drop in the amount available.
Adam Wilson / Unsplash
According to The Daily Meal, we could see a shortage of beer because of the products needed for carbonation (in certain types) and, as with pet food, the aluminum needed to make the cans.
Chris Deluvio / Unsplash
Corn is one of the most useful crops in the United States. Not only is it used for eating, it is also used for corn syrup (the sweetener), corn oil, and more. The US Department of Agriculture is reporting there was a 4% drop in the crop between 2021 and 2022. This could lead to shortage on all corn based products.
Sorin Gheoghita / Unsplash
The reduction in milk production has led to a drop in the amount of available butter. It is also the reason why we have seen a price jump in the cost of butter. Maybe it is time to switch to margarine?
Mae Mu / Unsplash
According to Mashed, a worldwide grain shortage is likely to lead to a shortage of pasta. On top of that, people love to stockpile pasta because it is shelf stable and easy to prepare.
Ian Dooley / Unsplash
As with butter, the drop in milk production could lead to a shortage of one of our favorite treats.
Jakob Kapusnak / Unsplash
For the last few months, we have been hearing about the massive price increases on the cost of eggs. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of available eggs. According to the CDC, the shortage is due in large part to a massive outbreak of the Avian Flu.
Victoria Shes / Unsplash
You could have a hard time finding soup in 2023. Again, not because of the ingredients needed to make soup, but because there are shortage in the aluminum needed to make the cans.
Fikiri Rasyid / Unsplash
Some listeners are reporting very specific things missing from store shelves. It is almost like companies have chosen to only make the most generic versions of products.
Peter Kalonji / Unsplash
According to HBW Insight, the ingredients needed to make makeup could be hard to come by this year. As a result, we could see a shortage in the amount of available makeup.
ROXBURY, NJ - Montclair State University recently congratulated Red Hawks named to the Spring 2023 Dean's List, including many from the Roxbury area.The Dean's List, issued after the close of the Fall and Spring semesters by the academic deans, gives recognition to students with a 3.50 or higher semester GPA if a minimum of 12 credits is earned in courses that contribute to the GPA and if there are no incomplete grades for that semester.The following students from the Roxbury area were named to the Spring 2023 Dean's List...
ROXBURY, NJ - Montclair State University recently congratulated Red Hawks named to the Spring 2023 Dean's List, including many from the Roxbury area.
The Dean's List, issued after the close of the Fall and Spring semesters by the academic deans, gives recognition to students with a 3.50 or higher semester GPA if a minimum of 12 credits is earned in courses that contribute to the GPA and if there are no incomplete grades for that semester.
The following students from the Roxbury area were named to the Spring 2023 Dean's List
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Valeria Schiano Di Cola of Flanders (07836)
Taylor Taveira of Landing (07850)
Rachelle Vassoler of Flanders (07836)
Marian Mapes of Netcong (07857)
Jamie Pringle of Mt Arlington (07856)
Ethan Salonga of Ledgewood (07852)
Isabella Fico of Succasunna (07876)
Susan O'Sullivan of Wharton (07885)
Valerie Saporito of Flanders (07836)
Steven Anton of Flanders (07836)
Maddy Spitzli of Succasunna (07876)
Patrick Williams of Succasunna (07876)
Melissa Hughes of Mount Arlington (07856)
Natalie Zolnierczyk of Landing (07850)
Morgan Monfriedo of Succasunna (07876)
Susan Sanchez of Wharton (07885)
Haylee Gathagan of Wharton (07885)
Alan Yennie of Wharton (07885)
Erika Celi of Wharton (07885)
Marc Sarinelli of Landing (07850)
Matthew Dancsecs of Succasunna (07876)
Giselle Virgen of Wharton (07885)
Taylor Rippon of Succasunna (07876)
Payton Hall of Wharton (07885)
Kristy Quinn of Ledgewood (07852)
Astrid Figueroa of Ledgewood (07852)
Nooria Shah of Flanders (07836)
Matthew Alvine of Ledgewood (07852)
John Rojas of Flanders (07836)
Liz Valcarcel of Ledgewood (07852)
Emily Manrique of Mt Arlington (07856)
Autumn Miceli of Landing (07850)
Catrina Bennett of Netcong (07857)
Patrick Baldwin of Wharton (07885)
Ryan Olsen of Succasunna (07876)
Jessica Wood of Ledgewood (07852)
Aryanna Salmon of Wharton (07885)
Kierstyn Biondi of Netcong (07857)
Daniela Spero of Succasunna (07876)
Allianna Witt of Netcong (07857)
Riley Krzastek of Mount Arlington (07856)
Alexa Falco of Ledgewood (07852)
Brooke Alvarez of Wharton (07885)
Ethan Winch of Flanders (07836)
Karen Lucero of Ledgewood (07852)
Michael Lupo of Flanders (07836)
Linvia Ong of Ledgewood (07852)
Nicole Stites of Succasunna (07876)
Willow Bradley of Ledgewood (07852)
Phil Nobile of Flanders (07836)
Julia Mayor of Succasunna (07876)
Nicholas D'Alessandro of Landing (07850)
Justin Soliman of Mt Arlington (07856)
Steffi Grant of Flanders (07836)
Jordan Tanis of Flanders (07836)
Brynn Kangas of Netcong (07857)
Tatiana Franco of Kenvil (07847)
Joseph Vega of Netcong (07857)
Lauren Ernst of Succasunna (07876)
Daniel Radler of Flanders (07836)
Alysza Sookraj of Wharton (07885)
Antony Torres of Wharton (07885)
Laurel Cousineau of Succasunna (07876)
Mia Capriglione of Succasunna (07876)
Krystina Mahan of Landing (07850)
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The Wharton State Forest fire has been largely contained. Its stench? Not so much.CHERRY HILL, NJ — A large South Jersey wildfire has been largely contained. Its stench? Not so much.Some of Cherry Hill's air has smelled different in recent days. That "strong odor" stems from the recent brush fire at Wharton State Forest, according to the township fire department.The fire should not cause concern in Cherry Hill, officials said."Higher humidity and winds shifting has caused surrounding areas t...
CHERRY HILL, NJ — A large South Jersey wildfire has been largely contained. Its stench? Not so much.
Some of Cherry Hill's air has smelled different in recent days. That "strong odor" stems from the recent brush fire at Wharton State Forest, according to the township fire department.
The fire should not cause concern in Cherry Hill, officials said.
"Higher humidity and winds shifting has caused surrounding areas to smell like smoke as well," the Cherry Hill Fire Department said Thursday.
The Dragway Wildfire was discovered Sunday afternoon, burning around Jackson Road in Wharton State Forest and near the shuttered Atco Dragway in Waterford Township. The fire grew to 1,700 acres, with the containment area extending to Medford and Shamong in Burlington County.
Crews contained 95 percent of the wildfire as of 6 p.m. Tuesday. No injuries were reported, and no structures were under threat, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Read more: South Jersey Wildfire Contained, Cause Under Investigation
Although the blaze has been largely contained, smoke may remain visible for an extended period of time as firefighters mop up the fire, the state forest fire service said.
Wildfire impacts in South Jersey have been prevalent during recent months. Significant fires have popped up in the region's woodlands since the spring, while smoke from eastern Canada's wildfires impacted South Jersey's air quality earlier this year.
Fire officials around the Garden State have warned residents of the increased potential for forest fires in 2023, as the lack of snow in South Jersey this winter has prevented pine needles and leaves from compacting. The result: this "ground fuel" may rapidly dry out on breezy or windy days that are at high risk for wildfire.
While 99 percent of wildfires in the state are attributed to human carelessness, accidents or arson, the riskier peak wildfire season may actually be extended due to changing climate patterns, state officials said.
“The continuing impacts of climate change mean our state is experiencing more severe weather conditions, storms, wind and drought that can result in a longer wildfire season, which is why it is more important than ever that the public exercise caution and take steps to help protect their homes and property,” New Jersey Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette previously said in a statement. “Preventing wildfires also helps avoid catastrophic releases of carbon that contribute to and exacerbate climate change.”
Meanwhile, climate change made Quebec's fire season 50 percent more intense through the end of July, according to a recent report from World Weather Attribution, which calculates climate change's role in extreme-weather events.
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