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WCBS 880 Presents ‘Living Green’ – Episode 2: Opening New Jersey To For-Profit Logging

Hiking in Hunterdon County, New Jersey (credit: Wayne Cabot / WCBS 880)

Hiking in Hunterdon County, New Jersey (credit: Wayne Cabot / WCBS 880)

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This special “Living Green” series will continue through Friday, April 27. Stay tuned to WCBS 880 and check back on CBSNewYork.com for the latest installments throughout the week. If you missed Monday’s piece, click HERE.

READINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A bill making its way through the New Jersey State Senate would open up municipal lands and open spaces to logging for profit.

Some hundred-foot-tall oak trees in Deer Path Park in Readington were marked for logging, reported WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot.

Hunterdon County gave permission for them to be chopped down, but the county reversed its decision after the people protested.

WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot On The Story

“I wanted to buy the trees out of that Deer Path [Park] and I know I could’ve probably won that bid. I mean we see millions of dollars standing there,” Matthew Good, the owner of Mountain Top Logging, told Cabot. Mountain Top Logging, based in Lebanon, specializes in timber buying and harvesting.

“If you leave these big trees in there, they just shade out all the under story, and the only stuff that can grow under those canopies are invasive species,” Good said.

Jeff Titel of the Sierra Club of New Jersey sees things a bit differently.

“We’re very troubled by it, that, under the guise of sometimes they called it ‘stewardship’ or ‘healthy forest,’ we end up taking down our trees. The trees are worth a lot of money. So, the loggers want to come in and take them out,” Titel told Cabot.

“And what we’ve seen so far, they’re paying the government entities less than 10 cents on the dollar. For instance, mature oaks are selling for about $2.50 a board foot, and we’re actually getting only 15 cents a board foot at the local level when they sell the lumber,” Titel said.

“But does it make sense to allow some logging in state parks and forests? Is there an economic benefit? Can it be mitigated against destroying the woods?” asked Cabot.

“Well, the concern that we have is that you can do some projects where you’re trying to allow for regeneration of forest where you’d take out a half acre here, an acre there. The concern is they really want to go after those large mature oaks, and they use them for furniture,” Titel said.

Titel pointed out that they take the oaks from New Jersey, ship them to Canada to be milled, send them to China to be made into furniture parts, and then assemble them into furniture in Georgia and North Carolina.

“Not exactly green,” said Titel.

Where all of this goes from here remains to be seen.

Where do you stand on logging in New Jersey? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.