Restoration plan approved for Scullville Park

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Once a dump site for construction material and debris, the “lake” is now inhabited by birds and fish.

 EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Scullville Park restoration plans are moving forward with clean up activities expected to begin this month.

 A partnership between the township and the U.S. Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service was finalized at the Wednesday, Sept. 26 Township Committee meeting. The plan calls for the restoration of grasslands, trees and shrubs as well as enhancement of ponds, bird nesting areas and added signage of the proposed 220-acre park, located on the old TempleTract and former mining site pit that is adjacent to the township’s Arboretum and Nature Center.

 The Scullville Park ad-hoc committee, charged with determining the approved usage at the park, was also at work Tuesday, Oct. 2, putting the finishing touches on the recommendations the eight-member group will send to the Township Committee.

 The group discussed the plan of the passive park and other details, including the Service’s plan to remove an aggressive perennial weed called mugwort that has “invaded” a 3-acre field near the arboretum. The plan calls for controlling the mugwort using a herbicide and the planting of native warm-season grasses.

 Township Committeewoman Laura Pfrommer, a member of the ad-hoc committee, said once the weed is removed, that space could be used for parking.

 “Once we get the mugwort out of there, that would be an ideal space for parking,” she said.

 The committee discussed how best to provide access to those residents who will want to use the lake for kayaking and canoeing, but ruled out allowing the rentals of paddle boats.

 Committeeman and ad-hoc committee member Joe Cafero said the main goal should be to preserve the park’s status as a wildlife refuge.

“It is critical that we enhance it for wildlife,” he said, noting the 10 to 20 feet of water’s edge of the lake is a sensitive area. “That is probably the most diverse park of the park. It’s important that we leave the smallest amount of human footprint as possible.”

 Committeeman John Carman said he initially recommended bulk heading, grading and stabilization of the ground around the lake, but after learning more, agrees that less is more.

 “I was wrong,” Carman said. “We should leave it alone. I stand corrected.”

 The committee discussed using the existing paved access area along Zion Road as a parking area as well as a spot to place a few tables.

 Also ruled out was horseback riding, although the committee was in favor of recommending that riders are allowed to cross laterally through the park to continue on a path across town. One clear point among the members was a stricter enforcement of the laws regarding ATVs and other off-road vehicles, which have been driven illegally in the abandoned park for years.

 The committee was expected to recommend an ordinance that allows the police department to charge a higher fee for violations in this environmentally-sensitive area.

 Ad-hoc committee member Stephen Nehmad said the township should work diligently to protect this space.

 “We should regard this as an environmental jewel and anyone caught defacing it or defiling it will have to face the law,” he said.

 Other details of the restoration plan include the construction of an osprey platform to be built by Bayside State Prison prisoners.

More coverage:


Longtime chair of Environmental Commission resigns

Township takes first step toward creating Scullville Park



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