Save White's Woods Nature Center

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White’s Woods Nature Center, located on the edge of Indiana, PA in White Township, is a 250 acre preserve that our entire community is able to enjoy.  Unfortunately, the White Township Supervisors are proposing to engage in timber harvesting and rototilling, which would destroy our beautiful park--the logging will start in a matter of weeks. 

Currently, the forester has marked nearly 700 trees on approximately 50 acres (20%) of the park (Phase I), representing over 20% of the trees in that area, and including mostly large, valuable trees which provide the park’s canopy.  Some of the documents provided by the township suggest that over 50% of the timber will be harvested.  For updates on our progress in stopping this devastation, go to:

            www.friendsofwhiteswoods.org

Two ways to donate:

·         Go to https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/savewhiteswoods

         Send checks to Friends of White’s Woods, PO Box 1271, Indiana, PA 15701

 Please SIGN OUR PETITION to Save White’s Woods Nature Center

Here is a list of concerns about the timbering plan:

●     Cutting and rototilling of the forest floor will begin in weeks.  While current plans for timbering have been in the works for over a year, the greater Indiana PA community only learned about it in mid-April when our members observed the marked trees. We must act now.

●     Timbering is done for profit. According to the White Township timbering plans, obtained by an Open Records Request by Friends of White’s Woods, as much as 50% of the trees in White’s Woods will be timbered.  The original timber volume before harvest is 5,509,901 with a value of $2,539,536.05.  The after harvest volume will only be 2,754,951 with a potential revenue of $727,552.68.  This is clearly a ploy to profit from our community resource.

●     Mature forest canopy will be lost. The Township plan calls to remove a substantial portion of the “canopy”. This will dramatically damage the forest. 

●     Logging plan is not approved by the DCNR. After a similar logging attempt in 2007-2008, the Pennsylvania Department for the Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) told the supervisors that 21% was too much to remove and they needed to submit a new plan for DCNR approval prior to implementation. The supervisors have not followed this guidance.

●     Timbering plans have moved forward without adequate public input and commentary. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented community members from attending township meetings or peacefully demonstrating.  When similar proposals were put forth in 1995 and in 2007-08, ⅔ of residents did not want Whites Woods to be logged, according to surveys administered by the township (1995) and by the Indiana Gazette (2008).   

●     Proper legal procedures have not been followed.  According to documentation compiled by FWW, the township has not followed the proper legal procedures. White’s Woods Nature Center is the only land in White Township that was purchased with funds donated by Project 70, funds that were set aside by the Pennsylvania State Legislature to preserve natural areas for conservation, recreation, and historical preservation. Commercial logging is not consistent with Project 70 guidelines.

●       Logging plan is not ecologically sound. The plan is likely to introduce new problems, including storm water runoff damage to neighboring residential properties and explosive growth of invasive species.  We need park management expertise in providing input to any White’s Woods management plan.

●       Rototilling will propagate invasive species.  Removing the canopy to allow in extra light and rototilling invasive species (such as Japanese barberry), as the plan intends, are likely to result in an explosion of invasive species growth, rather than its reduction.

●       White’s Woods is home to at least two at-risk species.  Trillium spp. and Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) are both listed by the United Plant Savers as at-risk species (https://unitedplantsavers.org/species-at-risk-list/  Logging and rototilling activities will likely destroy perennial ground species, including these and many others.

Our petition asks for the following:

●       An immediate halt to the ALL work in White’s Woods (marking trees, eradicating invasive species, timbering).  Halting the current plan will allow the development of a comprehensive stewardship plan.

●       A working group of WWNC stakeholders be formed to seek necessary input from the public and from DCNR, allowing all stakeholders to be involved in the planning.

●       Use of the park exclusively for Project 70 approved purposes:  recreation, conservation, historical preservation.  

●       A long-term, comprehensive, evidence-based park management plan be developed by professionals with expertise in conservation, park management practices and Project 70 rules in concert with WWNC stakeholders.