Commission Will Hear Public on Bass River Tree Cutting Plan

Mar 05, 2019

The New Jersey Pinelands Commission will again hear an application from the state Forest Fire Service to clear cut 16 acres in the historic Civilian Conservation Corps white pine plantation of Bass River State Forest to restore visibility for the nearby fire spotter tower.

The final opportunity for public comment will occur at the Friday, March 8 commission meeting. Written comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. that day or the close of the commission meeting, whichever is later.

The commission received the new application on Jan. 25.

Last year, the commission heard heated resistance from Bass River Township officials and many of its citizens who oppose razing 16 acres of trees (originally a proposed 40 acres). They considered the tract a beautiful, historic and educational part of Bass River State Forest.

Opponents have suggested the Forest Fire Service should have considered other means to do forest fire surveillance, such as an elevated camera system or even drones to keep watch above the tree tops.

The issue was last heard during a Sept. 14 Pinelands Commission meeting when Commission Executive Director Nancy Wittenburg announced the NJ Department of Environmental Protection asked to extend the application for further investigation. The application was tabled at that time.

On March 8, the public will learn if the application has been substantially altered or not.

Pinelands Commission meetings are held at 15 Springfield Road, New Lisbon. —P.J.



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