Home > Uncategorized > Murphy DEP Pinelands Logging Plan Exposed A Broken System, Flawed Policies, And Corrupt Practices

Murphy DEP Pinelands Logging Plan Exposed A Broken System, Flawed Policies, And Corrupt Practices

This Is The Fake, “Managed” and “Thinned” Forest And Landscape They Want To Create

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(“This Pinelands forest is being managed under a Forest Stewardship Plan to increase ecosystem health, reduce fuel, and improve habitat for rare plants and animals (Kristen Meistrell, NJA)” – Source: US NRCS and NJ Audubon Fact Sheet

[Correction below]

The photo above illustrates exactly what the government loggers and their government funded “conservation” community friends – like NJ Audubon, Pinelands Preservation Alliance and NJ Conservation Foundation – want the NJ Pineland Forests to look like. (take a look at another Pinelands “Forest Stewardship” project, by many of the same organizations – and see NJA “valued for their timber” photo below).

This is the “thinned” “actively managed” forest and “savanna” landscape they want to create.

But they don’t want you to see that, know about that, or object to that.

And, as I’ve documented based on government records, they are doing everything, and I mean everything – including: 1) violating laws on release of public information; 2) violating State ethics laws that mandate recusal; 3) redacting and suppressing public information; 3) holding secret off the record meetings to negotiate; 4) using the DEP Commissioner to pressure Pinelands Commissioners; 5) ramming through regulatory approvals with no public participation; 6) excluding scientific experts from reviewing the plan; 7) intimidating and silencing critics; 8) spinning the press; and 9) flat out lying bout facts on the impact of the plan – all done in a systematic strategy to suppress information and prevent you from seeing what they want to do to our forests.

The Associated Press yesterday published a story about the DEP’s Pinelands logging plan, see:

Despite the holiday weekend, the AP story is generating widespread howls of outrage, as people learn about this project for the first time. The story has gone national, but unfortunately may come too late to build pressure on Gov. Murphy to veto the plan.(just what the “conservation” groups and their DEP friends sought).

There were damning and revealing quotes in that story, that expose exactly how NJ DEP and their funded “conservation” friends view the Pinelands forests.

Foresters used to view forest ecosystems as “timber”. Now they see “fuels”.

Here’s NJ Gov. Murphy DEP Chief Forester’s view of the World Heritage Site & Congressionally designated National Reserve, the unique Pinelands forest ecosystem:

“This is like liquid gasoline in the Pinelands”

And here’s your quote of the day – by Murphy DEP Assistant Commissioner for Parks and Forests John Cecil, who shows such ecological concern for logging Pinelands Forests and cutting 2.4 million trees:

“Maybe you could get a couple fence posts out of these trees.”

Imagine that: a “couple of fenceposts”. Talk about a mess of pottage!

And here’ your Daily ORWELL: remarks by Carleton Montgomery, “watchdog” of Pinelands forests. He describes the forest after logging 1300 acres, cutting 2.4 million trees, & 50 ft. wide clearcut along 13 MILES of roads:

“The resulting forest will be a healthy native Pine Barrens habitat.”

(Carleton previously wrote to defend the DEP plan by claiming that there would be no reduction in canopy cover – a flat out lie I called out that is now exposed by the AP story – and described a 13 MILE long, 50 foot wide clear-cut, bisected by a road, a “meadow”. He’s a fool and a liar and now everybody knows that.)

Words from their own mouths! Their own photos! You can’t make this stuff up.

The DEP logging project also exposed institutional conflicts of interest. Government funds groups and “forestry” projects and in return they get green cover from the “conservation” community (who are really acting like forestry consultants and land owners  -in this case, NJ Audubon). We show you just some of the money to follow (NRCS/NJA fact sheet):

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers technical and financial assistance to forest landowners through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Eligible landowners with 10 acres of forest land may receive cost-share assistance for the development of a Forest Stewardship Plan, or for costs related to implementation of the plan.

List of NJDEP-Approved Consulting Foresters


The AP story reported that the DEP logging plan divided the environmental community.

That is misleading: the only groups that “support” this DEP plan financially benefit from federal government and DEP funding and have gross financial and organizational conflicts of interest and severe scientific bias (i.e. PPA, NJCF, NJ Audubon).

As NJ Audubon themselves openly admit: forests are “valued for their timber” (check out the caption)

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Below is my letter to the Pinelands Commission, which addresses just the Pinelands Commission staff abuses:

[11/28//22 – Correction. I mistakenly cut and pasted a broken link. The link to the Cecil presentation was not killed. My apologies to Pinelands Staff who kindly corrected my error this morning. I wish they were that fast and responsive to my criticisms! I stand by the rest of the criticism.

Here’s the full and correct link:


Dear Commissioner Lohbauer:

I am writing concerning disturbing recent practices by Pinelands Commission staff regarding the controversial DEP forestry plan. The effect of these practices has been to suppress public release of public information and deny the public an opportunity to participate in the Commission’s decisions, contrary to law and transparent and ethical government.

As you know, in August, staff denied my OPRA request for public documents on that proposed plan, claiming that there were “no responsive records”. (the exact same OPPRA request was later made to DEP, and they provided many documents). This denial came at a time the plan was undergoing staff review, negotiations with DEP were being conducted, and the public and the Commission had not been notified (prior to the formal public notice and public hearing and the Commission’s October 14 approval vote).

I attempted to submit written comments on the DEP plan, in the absence of the application, but those comments were correctly rejected by staff due to closure of the public comment period (but I was unaware that a public notice and comment procedure was even underway, as a result of the OPRA denial).

Today, I just learned of a third troubling staff practice on this same application.

According to the Pinelands Commission’s march 2021 Monthly Report:

  • “The LUCIS Committee met on March 17, 2021 and received presentations on forest management from Leslie Sauer, author, founder of Andropogon Associates and founding board member of the Northeast Region of the Society for Ecological Restoration, and John Cecil, Vice President for Stewardship, NJ Audubon Society.”


The Cecil presentation was posted to the Commission’s website in the following link:


I used that link in a complaint to the State Ethics Commission challenging Cecil’s failure to recuse as DEP Assistant Commissioner overseeing the exact forestry practices he advocated at NJ Audubon and presented to the Commission.

I also posted that link many times on Wolfenotes.com, as a visual example of the “forest thinning” practices Cecil supported, including photos he used in that March 2021 presentation. 

The link is now dead.

Who killed it and why? Where is the Cecil presentation now archived?

Take a look at the attached photo and its to hard to see why – this is a “thinned” Pinelands forest Cecil used as a positive example.


Bill Wolfe

ps – the Cecil presentation is also mentioned as a highlight in the Commission’s Annual Report (2021):

“The Committee hosted presentations on forest management during its March meeting. The presentations were delivered by Leslie Sauer, author, founder of Andropogon Associates and founding board member of the Northeast Region of the Society for Ecological Restoration, and John Cecil, Vice President for Stewardship, NJ Audubon Society.”


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