March 2, 2017 – Senator Lesniak announced two new bills to limit logging on public lands. See below for a video with highlights of the press conference, which includes statements from NJ Sierra Club, Raritan Headwaters Association, NJ Highlands Coalition, and Friends of Sparta Mountain. One bill (S3043/A4647) removes the Highlands Act exemption for forest stewardship plans on public lands. The second (S3044/A4646) requires forest stewardship plans on state-owned lands to use rare species and habitat data to make sure that they help more rare species than they harm. Thanks to Sen. Bateman and Asm. McKeon for co-sponsoring! Contact your state representatives and ask them to support S3044/A4646 and S4043/A4647.
January 26, 2017 – If you missed the STOP the CHOP packed-house town hall meeting, watch the recording below. Make sure to catch gubernatorial candidate Sen. Lesniak after Friends of Sparta Mountain’s Silvia Solaun’s introduction. He promised to take the DEP to court if they proceed with the logging plan! Following him are 6 speakers:
- Dr. Eric Kiviat from Hudsonia spoke about the Young Forest Initiative;
- Drew University Prof. Sara Webb spoke about ecology vs forestry and how logging impacts the ecosystem;
- Pinelands Preservation Alliance’s Dr. Ryan Rebozo spoke about rare plants;
- then NJ Highlands Coalition Executive Director Julia Somers spoke about the Highlands and Policy Chair Elliot Ruga showed a flyover film of the Highlands;
- finally, Eastern Conservation Advisors’ Dennis Miranda spoke about the rare birds on (or absent from) Sparta Mountain.
Four members of Hardyston Town Council came to the meeting! Three people from NJ Audubon, authors of the logging plan, also attended (and didn’t cause any trouble, but we hope that they reported back to DEP that they are still facing stiff opposition from both the community and the scientists!). Bruce Scruton was there from the NJ Herald.
April 26, 2016 – NJTV News aired a segment “Residents Set to Battle State Over the Future of Sparta Mountain”, about how “locals are fighting to stop the NJDEP from allowing the cutting down of older trees on Sparta Mountain, fearing it will become a safe haven for commercial logging operations.”
April 21, 2016 – News 12 NJ aired a segment “Sparta Mountain forest plan angers environmental advocates” with an accompanying video “Opposition to tree removal on Sparta Mountain”.