Following a public meeting held last week by well-meaning but misinformed environmental groups, there has been a lot of misinformation put forth about forest stewardship activities on Sparta Mountain. Our native wildlife requires forest of various ages in order to survive. This is the point of the forest stewardship plan for Sparta Mt.

I am a strong supporter of the New Jersey Audubon plan to manage and steward Sparta Mountain. The forests in our state and in Sparta Mountain are largely middle-aged. Wildlife need forests that are young (0-20 years) as well as middle aged (50-100 years) and older. Oak, especially, needs openings in the forest canopy in order to thrive. Oak is a critically important component of our forests since many species of wildlife are dependent on it. The plan seeks to balance the age classes for the benefit of imperiled as well as common wildlife.

As this plan moves forward, I urge our state lawmakers and environmental protection experts to embrace the well-vetted New Jersey Audubon plan. Now is the time to properly manage this forest, while we still have time.

Tim Dunne

Belvidere, N.J.