Current Status of White's Woods Nature Center

Here is an updated outline of key documents and events regarding the current status of plans for the WWNC. 

  • All activity in WWNC is on hold pending DCNR review of a 100 page draft plan the Township has submitted to DCNR.

  • DCNR representative spent two days walking in WWNC, and he interviewed many park users.

  • FWW hired Applachian Forestry consultant Mike Wolf to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of WWNC. 

  • FWW compiled a 253-page response to the Township draft plan.

  • FWW has scheduled seminars for the public regarding: 

    • the use of goats to control invasive plants,

    • the health of White’s Woods,

    • funds for carbon capture,

    • the impact of forests on controlling stormwater,

    • forest songbirds the health benefits of a community forest,

    • ecological impact of invasive plants, and

    • measuring the value of the WWNC to the public.

  • FWW has brought suit alleging violations of Sunshine Laws and the Second Class Township Code regarding the bidding process.
  • White Township held a Special Meeting on July 22, 2020 to re-do all of the votes alleged to have occurred in Executive Session, thereby legally mooting the FWW Sunshine Complaint.
  • On November 2, 2020 the Indiana County Court of Pleas issued a ruling that over-ruled White Township’s two preliminary objections; a pre-trial conference was scheduled for November 25, 2020.
  • Read the November 18, 2020 legal and DCNR update.

  • At the December 16, 2020 Township meeting, Supervisor George Lenz distributed the 1995 Beale plan for review.

  • FWW engaged Davey Tree Experts to conduct an i-Tree Analysis of the White’s Woods Nature Center in December 2020

  • Davey representative Todd Sherbondy presented the White’s Woods i-Tree Analysis at the January 27, 2021 White Township Board of Supervisors' meeting and is scheduled to present this information at a March 4, 2021 webinar as well.

  • Shari Edelson, Director of Operations at the Penn State Arboretum will present a webinar regarding the Hartley Wood restoration project on April 15, 2021.

  • The White Township Plan to remove 30 to 50 percent of the WWNC trees and rototill the entire forest floor–which will kill more trees and cause an explosion of invasive plants–has not been revised.

  • DCNR rejected the White Township Stewardship Plan!

    • During the April 14, 2021 White Township Board of Supervisors meeting, it was announced that the DCNR review had been received.

    • Two DCNR documents, one from Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Director Tom Ford (the DCNR division that oversees Project 70 lands), dated March 25 and a Bureau of Forestry “technical review,” (prepared for the BCR as part of this review process), dated March 23, were sent by DCNR to White Township.

  • The Township posted only the Bureau of Forestry technical review. FWW obtained a copy of Director Ford’s letter in an open records request. See both DCNR documents and the FWW and media response

  • At the same April 14, 2021 Board meeting—though not listed on the agenda—the Supervisors named four people (three foresters and one WT Supervisor) to serve on a new WWNC management plan committee.

  • FWW sent a letter to the Township, pointing out that this committee appears wholly inconsistent with both the BOF technical review recommendations and available DCNR documents regarding the role of public input in project planning. 

  • Individual FWW members are also now contacting the Township to inform them of their dismay at this committee constellation and process—and to volunteer to serve on this committee!

  • FWW sent letter to White Township suggesting the Township seek available DCNR funds to develop a management plan for White's Woods in a process consistent with DCNR’s Public Participation Guidelines, ​April 28, 2021

  • At the May 12 Township Meeting, the Supervisors announced the five applicants appointed to the new Recreation Advisory Board. None of the appointees are members of FWW, although eight members applied.

  • On June 2, FWW lawsuit was heard by Senior Judge William Martin. Attorney briefs are due by July 9, and a decision is expected by late summer.

  • On August 5, Senior Judge William Martin denied FWW’s request for an injunction to stop the invasive treatment plan for the WWNC. (This part of the ruling was of little consequence because this invasive treatment plan was blocked by DCNR in their March 25, 2021 response to the White Township Stewardship plan.) The judge also ruled that all of the WWNC Millstone contracts should be regarded as “professional services,” negating any requirement for advertised bids.

  • White Township posted a Deer Management Plan (Bow-hunting plan) on August 25, 2021, and invited feedback to be emailed to the Township by September 17, 2021.

  • FWW distributed a survey regarding the bow hunting plan.  Both the FWW membership and, after August 25, the Indiana regional community were invited to fill out the survey.  There were 150 respondents.  The majority opposed the bow-hunting plan. The survey results were presented to the Township via email on September 17 and, also, in person at the September 22, 2021 Board of Supervisors meeting.

  • White Township announced that a “Woodlot Subcommittee” would be appointed to revise the management plan for the WWNC.

  • Application deadline: September 22, 2021.

  • On September 22, 2021, White Township announced that they had received 18 applications for this subcommittee but had decided to extend the application deadline until October 6, 2021.