General Position

  • White's Woods Nature Center (WWNC) was purchased with Project 70 funds.  The intended purpose of land purchased with Project 70 funds was and 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 opposed at the time of the last survey and there is nothing to suggest that the will of the people has changed, except that it seems that an even higher percentage of people are now opposed to commercial/selective timbering.

  • The township supervisors should have actively solicited input from the many current users of WWNC at the same time that they contacted David Babyak to prepare a logging plan.  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 have contacted multiple consultants (hydrologists, ecologists, environmental biologists, foresters

  • The selective timbering management plan presented by David Babyak is not compatible with the intended uses of the WWNC.  A working forest is a clear deviation from the intended purposes 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, it is prudent to do selective pruning and trail clearing for WWNC visitors.  FWWNC endorses a management plan similar to that adopted by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for their natural areas.

 

Financial Issues:

  • WWNC is worth far more to White Township and Indiana borough as a natural area than it is as a working forest.  White’s Woods Nature Center is a true boon to the community.  It is helpful in attracting, and retaining, people 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.  (Add more…)

  • The $16,000 (< $1.25 per township resident) that the timber project would add to the coffers of White Township is wholly insignificant relative to the ability to attract and retain businesses and individuals to the township and borough.  If, for example, having access to this wonderful natural area contributes to just one of the following events, then the economic value to the community from leaving WWNC intact more than covers the value of lost timber sales.

    • Just one working-age household decides to remain in the community and commute into the Pittsburgh metro area, rather than relocate closer to work.

    • Just one work-from-home individual decides to remain in the community rather than relocate elsewhere.

    • Just one retired household decides to stay in the community rather than relocate elsewhere.

    • Just one soon-to-retire or retired household originally from the community, but who left to take work elsewhere, decides to return to the community for their retirement.

 

Environmental/Residential Impact Issues:

  • The heavy duty vehicular traffic required for timbering, that will disrupt the relative calm of many borough and township neighborhoods and will damage roads, is undesirable.

  • Water run-off from timbering that could damage both borough and township properties and affect ground water drainage systems is unacceptable and unnecessary

  • The rise in the deer population that will result from an increased ground cover food supply will further affect adjacent properties, increasing damage to residential landscapes and passing motor vehicles.


Wildfire Issues:

 

Recreation Issues:

 

Future Plans:

  • That neither the White Township Supervisors nor the FWWNC should dictate the future of WWNC.  Instead, the board should work with FWWNC, the White Township Planning Commission, Indiana Borough, Indiana Area School District, and other community members in order to draft a lucid, binding and informed management plan for WWNC that recognizes the value of non extractive uses of WWNC.  The goal being that the will of the people create a plan for the future of WWNC.

  • That after such a plan is drafted and approved by the White Township Supervisors, Indiana Borough, and Indiana Area School District (the funding entities for the Recreation and Parks Commission), the Indiana Area Recreation and Parks Commission will maintain WWNC according to the mandates set forth in the management plan.

  • That, if at anytime, a change is needed in the management plan, the supervisors will inform the public about the possible need to change the plan and provide a public forum for debate on changes to the plan.  No action will be taken that departs from the developed management plan without:

    • Providing the multiple users of WWNC the opportunity to give feedback on the proposed changes.

    • Demonstrating that it is clearly the will of the majority of residents that the proposed changes be enacted.