Home > Uncategorized > Hardyston Township Officials Slam Christie DEP Sparta Mountain Logging Plan

Hardyston Township Officials Slam Christie DEP Sparta Mountain Logging Plan

The Forest Stewardship Plan poses an imminent danger to the natural forests and wildlife on Sparta Mountain.” ¬†~~~~ Hardyston Township (3/31/16)

The public comment period for the DEP’s controversial Sparta Mountain logging plan closed on March 31, so the criticism is starting to roll in.

I filed an OPRA for all the comments on 3/31 which DEP has not yet responded to, so I will do a more comprehensive post when I get all the documents.

The Hardyston Township  comments were very critical and illustrate not only the substance of local concerns, but suggest an organizing strategy for opponents of the plan.

I had not anticipated the strength and the effective organizing by the numerous lake Homeowners Associations.

The Highlands are blessed with many lakes – natural and man made – that provide not only places rich in aquatic life, but sites of organized political support for land preservation and protection of forest and water resources.

The lake homeowners are vested in the high quality of life that the splendid natural resources of the Highlands provide. They have good relationships with local officials and are well respected, credible, and effective voices for preservation. The Beaver Lakes folks obtained high powered legal support and submitted killer legal arguments (provided upon request, likely the subject of a future post).

My sense is that they were so well organized and effective organically on their own, in spite of and not as a result of advocacy groups with significant resources and paid staff, like the Highlands Coalition.

The Highlands Coalition prepared solid technical criticism of the DEP plan, but inside baseball and technical comments without strong and effective political organizing are doomed to fail.

HiCo needs to do much, much better in making the case to the public and organizing opposition.

Here is the intro and excerpts of the issue headers from the Hardyston comments – with an even more critical conclusion:

hardyston SMWMA

1) The Forest Stewardship Plan (hereafter “Plan”) poses an imminent danger to the natural forests and wildlife on Sparta Mountain.

2) The Plan presents potential dangers to wildlife, water supply, land and natural resources.

3) The Plan presents potential danger to the homes and infrastructure in the area of Sparta Mountain.

4) The Plan risks interference with the aesthetics of the surrounding area.

5) The NJDEP did not conduct any preliminary testing to determine the “real life” impact of the Plan.

6) The NJDEP failed to work cooperatively with Sussex County & local governments in developing the Plan.

hardyston SMWMA2

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