Our Role in the New Jersey Pinelands: The Human and Nature Relationship

The residents of Whitesbogs are all different with their own neighborly characteristics. One couple keeps mostly to themselves and remain quiet, while another family likes to spend outside playing with their kids.

As residents, we know that living out in the pine barrens makes us like our own landlord even though we pay rent. The rent is reasonable and is put towards a good cause because the payments are made directly to the Whitesbogs Preservation Trust, a non-profit organization.

Ernest Winberly is one of my neighbors who lives in a cottage off to the side of the General Store. He is very friendly, caring and conversant. He voiced his opinion about what it takes to live in the Pine Barrens, and how it is not always easy. He made me come to an understanding about annoying situations and how important it is for the residents and the Whitesbog Trust to work together.

Winberly: “That’s what happens in the historical park. You think, help me out here, cause’ fixing stuff is expensive. It’s like a trade-off. I’ll take care of your place just like you help me – help me to take care of it,” said Winberly.

Brown : How do you choose to handle the insects in your house?

Winberly : “Lady bugs I don’t kill. Spiders I Kill. Stink bugs I kill. I spray and exterminate them myself. I never give them a chance. Did you know that daddy-long-legs smell bad when you kill them too?

Brown : No, I didn’t. *laughs*Do you think we should have more police patrol?

Winberly: “We normally have the state park come patrol. But because the state has cut a lot of that, they don’t. I’m not a fan of police. The state park rangers used to park in the lot down there [in front of the general store]. The state park controlled a large portion of the woods, but they laid off people. The forestry goes all the way to Jackson. Now they are asking 2 rangers to do the work of 4 people.

Brown : What do you think about the enforcement of Whitesbog rules?

Winberly : “From dusk to dawn, no one is supposed to be in here. The rules should be enforced. We should have people in place to take care of that. If we had rangers like we are supposed to…”

Brown: What if we had someone like volunteers take turns to keep a look out at night?

Winberly: “I used to work security for a campground in Farmingdale called Deep Hollow Park. I had to enforce the campground rules. When it came down to it, I had to confront the trespasses and violators. If something like that occurred to a volunteer, they could end up in court. I wound up having to retain a lawyer and the park didn’t pay for it.

Brown: You make a good point, because it could be a really dangerous situation to handle.

Whitesbogs is all about preserving the historical village and the land, keeping it intact, and maintaining it. Whitesbogs speaks to visitors educationally about the importance,history, and beauty of the state we call home. It gives off an aura of pride.

“I understand this area and the conservation. They have restrictions and don’t want you to mess with the place and change its natural structures or environment,” said Winberly.

As residents we help preserve the area by keeping up the human relationship with the forest. None of us could ever dare to alter the remnants of historical artifact. Our cottages tell a story, from its’ old wooden floors to the dark iron cabinet locks. I wonder how many cranberry worker’s feet have walked on the wooden floors of my house.

For being like our own landlords, we do plenty of things on our own for our little cottages. We have a great respect for the place in which we live. The preservation and the residents of Whitesbog should all keep an eye on each other to look out for one another, just like how the Pine Barrens forest looks out for us with the offer of solitude and peace. Ernest Winberly agrees.

“It has to be a team effort. Good management and tenants should work together.”

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