Cherry Hill Forest contains trees, wildlife, and an unwanted pickup truck?
CHERRY HILL – This may be the strangest parking place in South Jersey.
Inside a forest in a town park, a 40-year-old pickup truck sits — well, what’s left of it — surrounded by trees, beer cans, and an air of mystery.
“We know it’s out there,” Cherry Hill Recreation Director Megan Brown says of the gorgeous vista hidden in the woods behind the Croft Farm Arts Center.
“I think he was there when the town bought the property (in 1985),” she suggests.
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Although the red Ford truck may have arrived somewhat later, logic suggests that it was a junk before the forest grew around it.
“There were some discussions about removing it,” Brown recalls. “But we have to either remove the trees or chop them down to remove them into smaller pieces.”
What’s left of the 40-year-old pickup truck?
So, the truck never left its parking spot – even as more and more parts left.
The front of the truck is pretty much gone: no engine, no hood, no doors.
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The steering wheel is missing, as well as the windshield, windows, gas and brake pedals, and even the dashboard.
The truck bed is largely intact, except for the missing tailgate.
But the truck is now loaded with fallen leaves and, for some reason, a lot of granite-colored foam blocks.
Plus a set of bright red party cups.
The only thing the truck has is good visibility for spectators.
When volunteers cleared color-coded trails through the forest more than a decade ago, they placed the blue trail to pass near the truck, Brown said.
“They did it so people could get close to it without having to leave the trail. It’s a special treat,” she said.
The pickup’s past is mysterious
The truck offers some clues to its past.
A faded sticker indicates that the truck rolled off the assembly line in Canada in 1983.
Bumper stickers show the previous owner’s interests in fishing, country music, and the carpenters’ union.
The site also indicates its origins.
The truck travels a long distance — and an impossible drive — from the beginning of the trail system off Burtons Mill Road.
But it’s close to the edge of the woods along the former site of a lumber yard, a place that might attract a carpenter looking to get rid of an unwanted vehicle.
The adjacent property was developed about four years ago into the Evan’s Mill apartment complex off Brace and Cresson roads.
Although the capture is unusual, it’s not unprecedented, Brown says.
“Honestly, I walk the trails a lot, and I run into vehicles fairly frequently,” she said. You can let your mind wander.”
Jim Walsh is a senior reporter at the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal. Email: Jwalsh@cpsj.com.