The Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space and Mercer County Park Commission are developing a Forest Stewardship Plan for the Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain. This work is being completed in consultation with New Jersey Audubon. Our goal is to collect information on Baldpate's resources, including the performance of detailed field evaluations, to determine strategies to most effectively improve ecological health for all of the Preserve's flora and fauna.
In November 2015, we prepared a draft list of 10-year plan objectives and requested comment from over 25 stakeholders. Our goal is for the plan to be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. Part of the FSC process is to evaluate High Conservation Value Forest areas at the site ahead of plan preparation. We prepared this HCVF evaluation and provided this to stakeholders. Utilizing FSC guidelines, we determined that the entire Preserve (excluding areas immediately surrounding Strawberry Hill Mansion) should be considered High Conservation Value Forest.
The stakeholder comment period for both the draft objectives and HVCF evaluation was from November 9, 2015 through December 11, 2015. Stakeholder comments and responses are provided.
We are continuing to work on the plan by compiling field mapping data and collecting necessary information to meet NJ Forest Service Forest Stewardship Plan requirements and FSC certification requirements. Once we've completed a draft plan (anticipated completion date is December 2016), we will provide 45 days for stakeholder review. The draft plan will be made available on Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space and Mercer County Park Commission websites. All comments will be addressed and a final plan will be submitted for state and FSC approval in early 2017.
If you'd like to provide comments on the draft plan when it becomes available, please contact Michael Van Clef, Stewardship Director by email (Michael@fohvos.org), phone (609-730-1560) or mail (Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, PO Box 395, Pennington, NJ 08534).