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Pave Paradise: Put up a Parking Lot

Baldpate Mountain in Hopewell Township, Mercer County is one of my favorite still relatively wild areas to ramble.

The State DEP just began construction of new roads and parking areas to provide access to this hilly and forested landscape. Check out the photo’s – you decide if the improved public access to this special place is worth the destruction. I don’t think so – and even if justified, the design is poor, the engineering wildly out of scale, and the level of forest destruction avoidable.

Green Acres Project – Baldpate Mountain, Hopewell Township, Mercer County.Baldpate is a magnificent forested tract of approximately 1,000 acres. It is the highest elevation and largest natural area in Mercer County, along the Delaware River, just north of Trenton.

(photos continued)

Sixty foot wide access road to parking lot punctures mature ash ash, oak, and tulip forest.
Rural roads in the area are just 16 feet wide.
An additional large parking lot is under construction in an a far less environmentally sensitive disturbed farm field.
Scores of mature ash, oak and tulip tress were cut down to make way for the access road and parking lot..
More trees cut down to make way for a parking lot on former forest.
Men and machines create stumps where mature trees once stood tall.
Hard to distinguish the destruction by a typical development project from a DEP Green Acres funded project
View from the trail – imagine my surprise coming across this while hiking a remote section of the park.
Towering Tulip Trees Transect Tranquil Trail.
Classic rustic hunting cabin is hidden by grasslands.
Delaware River (looking south) peeks through the hardwood forest.
Estate and several outbuildings provide architectural and historical features.
Miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails await the rambling spirit.
  1. nohesitation
    January 24th, 2008 at 12:17 | #1

    Trails connect Baldpate Maountain to Washington Crossing State Park (to the south) and Howell Historic Living Farm (to the north).
    These connections are great, but they also allow for additional publc access and parking.
    More than enough parking capacity already is available at the new trailhead at Washington Crossing State Park; at the Howell Farm; and at a new parking lot under construction at the entrance to Baldpate.
    There was no need for even more parking or to destroy trees. Plus, this road opens up the most remote section of the Park, adn area that rei
    DEP Green Acres planners need to open a dictionary and look up 3 words: “natural”; “historic”: and “compatible”
    Maybe that would add some meaning to their empty rhetoric of “low impact context sensitive design.”
    As things now stand, its’:
    Public Access Gone Wild!

  2. nohesitation
    January 24th, 2008 at 12:18 | #2

    Trails connect Baldpate Maountain to Washington Crossing State Park (to the south) and Howell Historic Living Farm (to the north).
    These connections are great, but they also allow for additional publc access and parking.
    More than enough parking capacity already is available at the new trailhead at Washington Crossing State Park; at the Howell Farm; and at a new parking lot under construction at the entrance to Baldpate.
    There was no need for even more parking or to destroy trees.
    Plus, this road opens up the most remote section of the Park, an area that required a 2+ mile 800 – 1000 foot elevation hike.
    DEP Green Acres planners need to open a dictionary and look up 3 words: “natural”; “historic”: and “compatible”
    Maybe that would add some meaning to their empty rhetoric of “low impact context sensitive design.”
    As things now stand, its’:
    Public Access Gone Wild!

  3. mkosloski
    April 4th, 2008 at 17:14 | #3

    I live in very close proximity to the Fiddlers Creek Road entrance to The Ted Stiles Preserve. I get a firsthand look at the stupidity in allowing this destruction in the name of progress. It seems that the ongoing contsruction is proceeding way beyond the original intent of limited use development of a natural area. There are wetlands all around the immediate area that are going to suffer because of this bizarre concept that the county and township have that you can’t leave anything alone or untouched. THE LAND WAS ORIGINALLY PURCHASED TO BE LEFT ALONE BECAUSE PEOPLE WANTED AS NATURAL AN AREA AS POSSIBLE. THAT”S WHAT WAS AGREED TO WHEN THIS PLAN WAS IMPLEMENTED. Why can’t the folks at DEP understand something as simple as that.

  1. October 18th, 2010 at 15:43 | #1
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