Billionaire’s Elite Hunting Club Gave NJ Audubon $140,000 To Develop Sparta Mountain Logging Plan
Donald Trump not the only billionaire writing checks to NJ Audubon
Don’t Let DEP create a landscape for logging and hunting
The core issues in the growing controversy over the DEP and NJ Audubon’s proposed logging plan for Sparta Mountain revolve around the vision and values of public lands management – whether private & economic interests or public preservation values will prevail.
[3/11/16 – Talk about what interests will prevail, I like this phrase on far larger issues:
We’ll soon find out which characteristics are in the ascendant.]
Equally important and related issues involve whether technocratic human control (i.e. “forest management to create diverse age class structure and early successional habitat“) or natural processes should govern: who and what are a forest for? What should the forest landscape look and feel like? Can DEP “management” and “forest treatments” “improve” the forest?
All signs from DEP and Audubon are pointing in exactly the wrong direction: the plan was written in secret by a narrowly trained private forestry consultant, who was paid and working under contract to NJ Audubon, a private group, and the plan itself promotes economic objectives over public values.
The latest news in this deepening quagmire shows that NJA’s Sparta Mountain Project was funded by an elite private hunting group owned by a Wall Street billionaire.
Elite private planning for a landscape the maximizes logging and hunting opportunities
In my first post on Sparta Mountain (of 10 so far), I concluded:
A look into the players and their motivations reveals that special interests in forestry consulting, commercial logging, hunting, DEP bureaucracy, and narrow “conservation” views have teamed up to undermine the broader public interest and competing public lands management and forest uses.
Further confirming that conclusion, we now learn that billionaire investor and philanthropist Peter R. Kellogg gave NJ Audubon $140,000 for the Sparta Mountain logging scheme.
Kellogg also personally gave NJ Audubon an unknown amount “over $100,000″ (see page 13)
Got that? Donald Trump is not the only billionaire writing checks to NJ Audubon!
According to Forbes’s “400 Richest Americans” (2006)
Son of James Kellogg III, former chairman of New York Stock Exchange; cofounded Spear, Leeds & Kellogg 1954, nation’s largest specialist on the NYSE. Peter joined as director 1973. Sold to Goldman Sachs in 2000 for $6.5 billion. Owns and operates Hudson Farm, 3000-acre hunting club in Andover, N.J.
The Hudson Farm Club operates as a private year round outdoor experience for its members as one of the most attractive shooting layouts in the country since 1997. The Farm consists of 3,800 acres of beautifully landscaped farmland in Andover, New Jersey with several ponds and lakes.
The Hudson Farm Club also operates The Hudson Farm Foundation which makes annual disbursements to local charities in the community.
What is it about rich white guys who like to slaughter caged birds? Hudson Farm sounds a lot like that “secret hunting society” cult like Texas farm where US Supreme Court Justice Scalia just died – and none other than Dick Face-Shooter Cheney is said to have hunted there (see 4th commenter).
The Hudson Farm Foundation gave NJ Audubon $140,000 for the “Sparta Mountain Project”:
The Hudson Farm Club also operates The Hudson Farm Foundation. The Foundation is governed by the members of the Club.
A significant focus of the “members of the Club”, not surprisingly, is on promoting hunting and funding hunting oriented groups, including:
- $137,500 to the “Northern NJ Bear Project”, a group whose “values” state:
Hunting is a part of the world’s natural heritage and should be used as one of many tools for effective wildlife management
- $150,000 o NJ Outdoor Alliance. Th NJOA is headed by Anthony Mauro, a member of Gov. Christie’s DEP Transition Team that recommended weakening natural resource protections. NJOA has issued an Action Alert to their members in support of the Sparta Mt. logging plan
- $110,00 to Sussex County Sportmen Foundation; and $20,000 to “Hunters Helping the Hungry”.
Ironically, the Hudson Farm is steeped in progressive landscape & regional planning history:
On July 10th 1921, creation of the Appalachian Trail was conceived in our estate house, at a meeting, which included the visionaries:
Benton MacKaye, the Massachusetts forester and regional planner, who envisioned and campaigned for the Appalachian Trail. “He recognized that, the ability to cope with nature directly – unshielded by the weakening wall of civilization – is one of the admitted needs of modern times”.
Clarence S. Stein, the visionary behind the planned community in Radburn, New Jersey was heralded as “one of the most progressive and controversial American architects and planners of the twentieth century”. Stein’s admirers placed him in the company of such giants as Lewis Mumford and Benton MacKaye. He championed radical community planning, finding inspiration in his studies in Paris as well as the Garden City movement in Great Britain. His city planning ideas transformed communities in both the United States and Europe.
Charles Whitaker, the editor of the journal of The American Institute of Architects, and founder of The Committee on Community Planning.
Having studied the theory and history of regional planning, I can assure you that a billionaire owned elite private hunting club that brags to be “one of the most attractive shooting layouts in the country since 1997” funding a private plan to log Highlands Preservation Area forests would not be consistent the vision of MacKaye, Stein, Whitaker, and Lewis Mumford, a hero of mine.
The fact that hunting billionaire club provided funding is highly significant – it is directly related to the pro-hunting objectives of the DEP/Audubon SMWMA plan.
Hunters prefer exactly the landscape DEP and NJ Audubon are trying to create on Sparta Mountain because it produces more deer, small game like rabbit and fox, and game birds.
The proposed plan itself says that wildlife management (code for hunting) should be the “primary emphasis” (page 29) and highest management objective and trump other uses and functions of the forest.
We must not let that happen.
[PS – I am not the only one deeply disturbed by this private elite planning: (see: “Residents concerned over Sparta Mountain”
Blaine Rothauser, wetland scientist, and conservation biologist, said the DEP is already married to the N.J. Audubon plan, which “will be hard to kill.” He also added the N.J Audubon is a non-profit organization, acting like a profit-driven consulting company. N.J. Audubon has three foresters on its team because they are selling forest management plans to towns and work with the DEP as consultants.