Stewardship it ain't

Jan 04 2017 | 12:59 PM

A year ago, NJDEP unveiled its logging plan for Sparta Mountain WMA. The plan is crafted on the principles of pending “forest stewardship on public lands” legislation (S768) cosponsored by Senator Oroho. Under the guise of “forest stewardship”, the plan proposes to open the canopy by clear cutting property and leaving “young forests.”
By following Forest Stewardship Counsel procedures, NJDEP excluded the public from the early planning process and later executed a retroactive nondisclosure agreement with the forester (NJ Audubon Society). In effect, they egregiously relinquished their authority for managing our public trust resources.
The resulting plan invokes visions of heavy equipment, buzzing chain saws, chemical sprays, and controlled burning near homes. This threatens property values and ecotourism. Nearby, young forest is being created on 200 privately held acres to supplement 629 acres of Golden Winged Warbler Habitat established in Weldon Brook WMA. Clear cutting critical habitat in Sparta Mountain WMA to produce more young forest is unnecessary.
We pray NJDEP listens to those who love the mountain and eliminate the clear-cuts from the plan, but we must not let this happen elsewhere. Call 973-300-0200 or write Senator Oroho and demand that he withdraw his sponsorship from the “forest stewardship bill” (S768).
Greg Gorman,
Hamburg