General Position

  • White's Woods Nature Center (WWNC) was purchased with Project 70 funds.  The intended purpose of land purchased with Project 70 funds is recreation, conservation and historical preservation.  Selective timbering or the creation of a working forest is inconsistent with the stated purposes of Project 70 funds.

  • In 1995 the voters of White Township were surveyed regarding their desire to commercially/selectively timber WWNC.  Township residents overwhelming declared their opposition to commercial/selective timbering.  (62% opposed, 31% for timbering, 7% no opinion).  The concept of commercial/selective timbering was also opposed when survey data was collected in 2007-08.  What’s more, a higher percentage of those surveyed in 2020 than ever before opposed commercial and/or selective timbering in the WWNC (98%).

  • DCNR is clear that public input is an essential part of land management.  The township supervisors should have actively solicited input from the many current users of WWNC and developed a plan to meet their stated wishes.  It is a violation of the public trust to exclude from the initial planning process the many tax-paying users of this public resource.

 

Legal Issues:

 

Conservation Issues:

  • The township supervisors should contact multiple consultants (hydrologists, ecologists, environmental biologists, foresters

  • Destructive or pernicious management of WWNC is not compatible with the intended uses of the WWNC. 

  • It is prudent to have a management plan for WWNC.  Although forests have been self-sustaining for millions of years, there is a substantial human interaction with this forest; consequently, FWW endorses a science-based management plan that keeps the WWNC in its natural state.

 

Financial Issues:

  • WWNC is worth far more to White Township and Indiana Borough as a natural area than it is as a timber farm. White’s Woods Nature Center is a true boon to the community. It is helpful in attracting, and retaining, people and businesses to the township and Indiana borough. It provides relatively untouched green space directly adjacent to the largest town and the county seat of Indiana County. 

  • For example, access to this wonderful natural area has the potential to contribute to Indiana’s economic grown by enhancing the likelihood that: 

    • Working-age households remain in the community and commute into the Pittsburgh metro area, rather than relocate closer to work.

    • Work-from-home individuals remain in the community rather than relocate elsewhere.

    • Retired households stay in the community rather than relocate elsewhere.

    • Soon-to-retire or retired households originally from the community, but who left to take work elsewhere, return to the community for their retirement.

    • Businesses stay or relocate here to provide access to the outdoor recreation opportunities that their employees demand.

 

Environmental/Residential Impact Issues:

  • Potential disruption of the relative calm of many borough and township neighborhoods and damage to roads.

  • Increased and significant water run-off from timbering resulting in damage to both borough and township properties and affecting ground water drainage systems.

  • Increase in the deer population resulting from an increased ground cover food supply, further affecting adjacent properties, and increasing collateral.

  • Decrease of air and water quality in the Indiana area.

  • Decrease of property values of homes within walking distance of the park.


Wildfire Issues:

  • Experts believe that the risk for wildfire in WWNC is low under current environmental conditions.  However, intervention which changes that ecosystem could increase the risk.

 

Recreation Issues:

  • WWNC meets DCNR’s priority of providing natural space within 10 minutes of all residential areas.

  • WWNC is perfect for walking, birdwatching, running, and cycling, the favorite outdoor recreation activities for Pennsylvania outdoor enthusiasts.

  • WWNC offers passive recreation opportunities for people of all ages and physical abilities.

 

 

Future Plans:

 FWW believes that the will of the people should determine the plan for the future of  WWNC. Decisions about future changes in the management plan should be guided by park users and citizens.