More Than 70 Trees Cut Down Without Warning in Bonsal Preserve, Montclair

More than 70 trees came down in Bonsal Preserve Tuesday to the frustration of Montclair residents and forever changing the suburban wooded sanctuary. The North Jersey District Water Supply Commission cut down the trees because their roots would damage a water pipe along along the water line under the preserve. The Bonsal Preserve straddles Montclair and Clifton.

Photo: Madeline Grupper

The Friends of the Bonsal Preserve released this statement:

The Friends of the Bonsal Preserve in Montclair are frustrated and distraught about the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission’s devastating deforestation of the woods. For months we had struggled to get solid information about their plans. Finally, just last week, NJDWSC’s Executive Director assured us that we would be consulted, and briefed on which trees they’d selected for felling. Instead their crew swept in without notice on Monday and Tuesday and took over 70 trees – more than double the number they’d anticipated. That’s because the choice of which trees posed a genuine threat to the line was not entrusted to a qualified Engineer, but to their tree clearing contractor. The work was undertaken without confirming the extent of the Commission’s easement, nor a permit from the DEP, as required given the impact to the riparian zone of the Third River. We will now have to live with the irreparable damage the NJDWSC’s neglect has caused for years to come.

First Ward Councilor Bill Hurlock, who came to scene after learning of the tree takedown, said he was also not notified that the trees were going to be cut Tuesday by North Jersey District Water Supply. Hurlock said further destruction was prevented by having the crew leave the stumps and larger logs in place.

Friends of Bonsal will be meeting at 10:30 Saturday morning, 8/4, at the Preserve entrance with a consulting Arborist who has graciously volunteered to discuss a restoration plan, to present to the NJDWSC.

Photo: Madeline Grupper

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