The National Park Service’s Sandy Hook Unit is proposing to build a large maintenance facility in the midst of a heavily wooded section of Gateway National Recreation Area on Sandy Hook, which happens to be the highest point of the peninsula. The rationale behind the project is would allow the movement of vehicles and equipment to higher ground in a safe facility and reduce the risk of them being damaged in future floods and storms.
There is opposition to the project, which feels by eliminating critical forest you’ll kill the birds.
“The six-mile-long Sandy Hook peninsula is a critical stop along the Atlantic Flyway for millions of migrating birds. In addition to tidal wetlands and dune habitats, it contains significant maritime forest, characterized by fruiting trees and bushes like American holly, hackberry, black gum, bayberry, sassafras, beach plum, red cedar, service berry, poison ivy and Virginia creeper. ” and ““If you take away more maritime forest, birds will die – it’s as simple as that. There’s no substitute for this forest; there’s no other place for them to go.”
So the question at hand is, do you destroy existing forest to build a building because it’s the highest point on Sandy Hook, or do you plant more trees and plants for mitigation purposes and build the maintenance facility somewhere else, lower and change the building to meet the needs of that area?