Among the top concerns cited for this project, which would entail a five-year contract, are public access during logging operations, the environmental impact on slopes, wetlands and waterways, and the potential for deer overpopulation in logged areas. Those against the bill worry that logging practices would create “horrible-looking” public lands. Opponents call for revisions to address these issues and ensure the bill really works to protect public lands, as it claims to do.
Those in favor of the bill mention forest stewardship, which is also a valid concern. In Oregon, areas where logging was forbidden in order to protect endangered species became vulnerable to forest fires and thousands of acres were lost. Thinning trees is supposed to help stop the spread of the pine beetle, a pest that can decimate forests.
Many believe, and perhaps rightly so, that the real reason for this bill is to increase revenues for the state. Selective logging can do that while helping promote forest health and stop the spread of disease and pests, but all too often the forests are logged too heavily, which results in poor forest health, noxious weed takeovers, and a host of other problems.
What do you think? Is logging in New Jersey state parks a good idea or bad?