Monday, June 23, 2008

Joseph Wharton's vision

Joseph Wharton,for whom Wharton State Forest is named,had a dream of using the enormous aquifer under the pine barrens as a source of pure drinking water for the City of Philadelphia,less than 40 miles from the pine barrens.About 1873 Wharton,founder of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania,began buying large tracts of the pines.Plans were drawn that still survive to build dams on the rivers of the pine barrens and build pumps to tap the huge underground supplies.But the New Jersey State Legislature found out about his plans and passed a law prohibiting export of state water.This left Wharton with thousands of acres of undeveloped woods.With his plans thwarted,he tried raising cattle with little success,and left the vast woods to his heirs,who eventually sold the land to the state,which created the huge state forest that is protected from development for all to enjoy.

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