Are you ready for a solar-powered visit?

This fall, visitors to Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, N.J. will be able to explore the refuge while on a solar-powered, electric 12-passenger tram. Thanks go to an anonymous donor and the Friends of Forsythe Refuge who helped to obtain the vehicle and got it in operation. Ed Bristow, a member of the Friends of Forsythe Refuge, tells us how the new tram came to be.

EB_tram

The new solar-powered tram at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.

The tram started out about five years ago when the Atlantic City jitneys switched from regular gas to natural gas, which required the Atlantic City Jitney Association to purchase a whole new fleet of vehicles. Many owners had trouble getting rid of the old regular gas jitneys and we found a person willing to donate a vehicle to us.

We started tours using the old jitney to acquaint people who were new visitors or who wanted to learn more about the refuge. It held 12 passengers, with the capacity for two wheelchairs and 10 regular seats. This worked for a year and a half, but then became a problem due to long usage and needing expensive repairs. We sold that and began searching for a replacement since the tours were so popular. The current vehicle that we will use had the right accommodations and features we felt would add to its value.

We’re calling it the Forsythe Explorer and it will take passengers on a ride through the refuge’s Wildlife Drive. Each trip has a trained driver and an experienced interpreter. Our prime goals are to help visitors become familiar with the birds and animals that call the refuge home. We want the riders to understand how the refuge is managed to provide rest, food and protection for the animals. We hope our riders will talk to their neighbors and friends who may not even know that there is such a place right near home. We just want visitors to enjoy and understand the Refuge System.

Right now, we’re working out a training program for drivers and interpreters that will lead the tours, which will be two hours long. We’ll begin offering the tram tours on Saturdays in September and October.


Click here for more information on the Forsythe Explorer

Tours will be offered on Saturdays, September 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The schedule beyond September is still to be determined.
 Reservations are required, and can be made by calling (609) 652-1665.

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