Update to Plans to Clear Cut White Pine Trees at Bass River Fire Tower

Apr 04, 2018

A New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Forestry plan to remove stands of mature white pine trees from around the Bass River fire tower, reported in the March 7 SandPaper, had not made any progress as of Tuesday, April 4.

According to a plan designed in January by the state Forestry and Forest Fire Service, the clear-cutting of 19 acres is necessary to improve the line of sight for the fire tower on East Greenbush Road.

An additional number of acres were scrapped from the plan after local input, but part of the area to be cut is the popular 3.5-mile pink trail frequented by hikers in the state forest.

The plans would need permission from the Pinelands Commission, and Paul Leaken, spokesman for the Pinelands Commission, said the PC met with state DEP officials for a pre-application meeting on Nov. 1 in 2017, but since then, the commission has not received a formal development application. The Pinelands Commission would have to review such an application to remove the trees, but Leaken said such an activity, tree-cutting, is not a prohibited use. However, the public would be invited to comment on the application if it is applied for, he said.

To keep tabs on Pinelands Commission applications, to go to the Pinelands Commission’s website nj.gov/pinelands ,then click on applications and click on status reports. Applications open for public review are in red.  —P.J.

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