Escalating vandalism forces state to restrict access to popular Pinelands fire tower

    A popular fire tower in the Pine Barrens that affords panoramic views has been fenced off due to continued vandalism problems, a state official said. 

    The fire tower at Apple Pie Hill in Burlington County’s Tabernacle rises 60 feet above a ground elevation of 205 feet — one of the highest points in the Pine Barrens. 

    Popular with hikers, photographers, and anyone seeking a view of Atlantic City and Philadelphia on a clear day that stretches across the green forest canopy, the state has now restricted the once unfettered access to the Wharton State Forest observation tower due to escalating criminal activity. 

    “There has been an uptick in the frequency and extent of vandalism to, and at, the tower in recent years, including the theft of fire protection equipment, destruction of property, various unsavory, activities and more,” Caryn Shinske, a public information officer for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, told the Pine Barrens Tribune. “As a result of these activities, a permanent fence is being installed to limit access to the tower when staff is not present.”

    But public access it not completely off-limits. The state will permit access when New Jersey Forest Fire Service personnel are on the site depending on availability and weather, the report said.

    Anyone seeking to visit can call the New Jersey Forest Fire Service Division B headquarters at (609) 726-9010 to schedule a visit.

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