Action Alert

Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) lies within New Jersey’s largest contiguous forest outside of the Pinelands. The 375 square mile tract of nearly unbroken forest within the Highlands Preservation Area is the gathering grounds of the State’s most valuable water resources. Sparta Mountain is under threat by an intensive forest management plan proposed by the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife. The management strategies proposed to increase early successional habitat include clear-cutting between 275 and 715 acres of forest canopy within the 3,500 acre WMA.  
The New Jersey Highlands Coalition Natural Heritage Subcommittee has studied the Plan in detail and found it to be fundamentally flawed for several reasons:

  • Destroying older, mature forest stands to create young forest patches may reduce diminishing rare habitat and species diversity in the State overall;
  • The Forest Management Exemption from Highlands regulations is meant for private landowners and should not be applied on State-owned, public lands;
  • The Plan fails to respond appropriately to water quality supply issues of critical statewide importance;
  • The Plan accommodates the interests of commercial logging operators, representing a diversion from the public interest and public trust vested in state-owned public lands;
  • A number of mistaken concepts underlie the Plan, causing serious conflicts with its stated purpose.

The New Jersey Highlands Coalition will join with other groups for a public town hall meeting sponsored by the Skylands Group of NJ Sierra. Please join us on April 21 to learn about the Plan and what we can do.

WHO:     Julia Somers, NJ Highlands Coalition;

                Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director;
                Dennis Miranda, Conservationist;
                Susan Dorward, Beaver Lake Community Association
WHAT: A public town hall meeting on DEP’s flawed Forest Stewardship Plan
WHEN: Thursday, April 21 at 7:00PM
WHERE: Franklin Fire House, 137 Buckwheat Rd, Franklin, NJ 07416
RSVP: Jamie Zaccaria at

Sparta Mountain was purchased with public money to be protected for future generations. It is critically important to protect this environmentally-sensitive area from logging because:

  • Sparta Mountain was preserved as part of the contiguous forest of the Highlands that protects the drinking supply for more than half of New Jersey’s residents;
  • Clear-cutting will remove the forest canopy, causing siltation and run-off, impact pristine C-1 trout streams and the highest water quality in the state;
  • Sparta Mountain is part of a vast forested greenway that includes Sterling Forest in NY State.
  • Sparta Mountain is a breeding ground for neo-tropical birds as well as the federally-endangered Indiana Bat;
  • This proposal not only threatens the environment, but it will also interfere with public access, recreation, and hiking.

Join us on April 21 and thank you for helping us protect the Highlands and its valuable forestlands!
​About the New Jersey Highlands Coalition

We represent a diverse network of organizations - small and large, local, regional, statewide and national - and individuals with the common goal to protect, enhance and restore the New Jersey Highlands and to preserve the quality and quantity of drinking water both for the 850,000 people in the Highlands as well as the more than 4.6 million people in Northern and Central New Jersey who depend on Highlands water. For more information visit our website:

Thank you for all of your support! 
508 Main Street | Boonton | New Jersey | 07005