Jul 2, 2009


In an incredible act of fiscal desperation, the Pawlowski Administration is preparing to justify harvesting timber on the South Mountain Reservoir. It is being filtered through the Park Department as woodland management, blah, blah, blah, but make no mistake, they're selling the tree's because they need money. Currently the timber is being surveyed. I must have missed the public announcement for the meeting on that plan. Our heritage, our parks, are being threatened by the perfect storm. The Parks and Recreation departments have been administratively combined. The director's background and training is in recreation. The administration has created no less than two cover groups; The Environmental Advisory Council and Friends of the Parks. Both groups have unwittingly failed in their own mission, as stewards of the parks. In the first phrase of the Cedar Park Plan, the structural integrity of the Mirror Ponds has been compromised by under digging the stone walls. A contractor now will apply gunite in an attempt to stabilize the walls. The Administration and Parks Department is using surveys and studies to justify the pre-determined master plan; for example a survey taken on the east side of Cedar Parkway of young people at the basketball courts may be used to justify extending recreational venues into the traditionally passive Rose Garden side of the park. Press conferences will be held, awards will be won, resumes will be enhanced, but what kind of park system will our grandchildren inherit?


Anonymous said...

These are experiments and projects for resume builders. They have no other intent other than shameless self-grandeurization. They are not interested in this area, its past, it's culture or it's future, only themselves and their "professional accomplishments".

The Valley has lost it's glory because it has lost it's economy. The ability to earn a decent living and have enough money to raise a family is harder and harder to do for anyone traditionally referred to as a blue color worker. It is even harder to do for many white color workers. In fact this word is little used today only because the traditional blue color worker has sunk,in many instances, to the lower strata of the disappearing middle class.

How many employers in the area have modified their pension plans and 401Ks to make them more portable? How many employers seem to be hiring individuals who are younger and single and desperate for work i.e. "work for rice". How many older individuals are being transitioned out to limit pension liability and minimize insurance costs to the employer.

We ascribe these changes to the emergence of a more mobile and fluid society. It is the waive of the future we are told. It limits corporate memory and no one remains in a community long enough anymore to even care or least of all complain. This wave of the future is a result of the direct intent of these corporations and politicos Both the community and the corporation become less accountable and responsible. Fine for them. It is easier to do what they want to do and tell the addled populous it is in their best interest.

So what we are left with is projects to cultivate trees under the guise of forest management, when the primary intent is to generate revenues. Do those making the decisions really care? I doubt it. They will be long gone when the implications of these actions play out. They love to think they live in a vacuum with little down the road responsibility. They do not see themselves as accountable? When confronted, they will say "I did the best I could" and "I can't be responsible for everything, can I?" But who will know. They will be long gone.

Those longer term residents of the Valley are castigated as malcontents and complainers. Some commentators are assured that when they die off that will be the end of them. I do not think so. These individuals work at trying to preserve traditions and the values of a culture that worked at one time. When democracy and economy were the drivers of the way of life and the culture of this area. They want that back. They believe they can get that back. They do not want to see the legacy of the valleys economy to be "give away's" and welfare. They realize the tremendous cost associated with these decisions. They need to be listened to.

LVCI said...

AROUND & AROUND-- Here we go down that same ole' road again!

I'll post this information to inform certain peoples from Chicago who once again show that they are not familiar with our city's history. Key point is: South Mountain is largely undeveloped in its northern extension due to conservation efforts and to prevent its steep slope erosion.

March 6, 2007- Officials aim to keep Lehigh Mountain green ** A consultant will be hired to find "best use' for county recreation
Lehigh County, Salisbury Township and Allentown all own parcels, totaling around 600 acres, on Lehigh Mountain... The Lehigh Mountain initiative is similar to the county's work on the Trexler Nature Preserve...

Been There, Done That!
In reference to logging on South Mountain, we must keep in mind this wooded area so close to a metropolitan area is an attraction for the whole area. By lumbering it or developing it to bare slopes, it simply is no longer an attraction. It is also good to remember it is one mountain, basically, with two sides and should be so perceived.

The latest acquisition, according to Donald Marushak, city parks superintendent, added 12.7 acres of wooded South Mountain land to the city's protected watershed, increasing the city's park land there to 129.5 acres. Said Marushak, "We've created a zone of public open space extending from the South Mountain Reservoir along the mountain to a point where the city land abuts conservancy holdings in Salisbury Township."

Here we have the federal government has spent millions to try and re-green the ruined mountains up in Palmerton area across from the former zinc plant. WHY? Because removing trees (therefore under brush as well) causes erosion. No one need more then take a hike along S. Mtn's current power line access roads to see what happens when you clear an access way. If you attempt to clear timber, you need access ways which will introduce erosion however slight.

Now yet again comes this bone head idea to mess with a beautiful water reservoir area. Hot Dang', we keep going round & round the same things we've already learned & spent money only to repeat the same thing yet again!!

Obviously we don't do the historical research before coming up with this stuff.

BTW: Thanks to the Morning Call archives for this stuff. Who says we don't need this newspaper!

Anonymous said...

do you have any further information on the Timber being sold at the reservoir? Nothing in the morning call (shocker).

michael molovinsky said...

currently the city land is being surveyed for woodland ecological management, which is timber industry PC for making a bid. the prospect annoys me because much of the cleared land in the parks have been planted with scattered young tree's. this reduces the venues for spontaneous family recreation (throwing a Frisbee with your kids) complicates the grass cutting, and visually dilutes the contrast with the wooded area's. lovers of the parkway have yet to recover from the clear-cut made to electrify the lights in the parkway. i believe that you will eventually read about this in the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Mike - did city council approve the reorg of parks and recreation, I missed that one in McCall; probably another rubber stamp deal....


Love the 'resume building' observation - but then again I am a longer-term resident and therefore a malcontent and complainer.

Love your thoughts, too, anonymous 8:11 am

I put up a four part special over four days detailing Allentown's largely forgotten contributions to the American Revolution.

KING GEORGE INN (military drill area,among many other things)
FARR BLDG (hospital)
MCGIVERN BLDG (hessian pow camp)

The Farr Bldg article notes Bethlehem did the super-heavy lifting with respect to Revolutionary War wounded

I have an article about John Jacob Mickley and some of his brothers as well.

Happy 4th of July

Naturally, I can tie this history to the IronPigs so the regulars can skip everything and get to the baseball! :)

Anonymous said...

You mean Pawlowski plans to sell the woods above S. 10th Street Reservoir? Can't believe it.
Do the neighbors know? A lot of that land belong to School District. This is disgusting.
Can you find out more? Where are Friend of the Parks or Trexler trustees?

Anonymous said...

Older worker here. Just spent more than a year trying to find new job. $8.00/$8.50 an hour is what is going rate. Competing against 20 somethings and losing, time and again. Also losing to bilingual workers who have tremendous advantage in valley's work force climate.

Anonymous said...

Just talked to friend. He was offered $1500 per acre for his trees. How many acres up there? Remember lots of that land belongs to private owners (who may want to sell as well) and
Salisbury Township. Maybe you can find out how much city being offered. It may be a faux deal, something else in the works, like
development. What happened to Weitzel's plan for soccer fields up there?

Anonymous said...

Some developer allowed to build right below S.Mtn. and I/78. EPA needs to be brought in. Maybe they can stop this. Washington and various nonprofits, too.
Okay, someone wrote city's acreage less than 100 acres, that times $1500. per acre. That's gonna fix the budget? Sounds fishy. Something's up.

Anonymous said...

Tree Harvesting:
Some tree harvesting companies need to clear a 10-foot-right-of-way to bring in their equipment. That's before they even begin to cut the trees.

Before Gore Kneel said...

Increasing the run off from the south mountain above the resevoir is certain to aggravate the rather extensive sinkhole system on South Mountain. I think we can expect debris flows crashing into the neighborhoods below. Whether the integrity of the resevoir is breached might be a stretch, but considering Pawlowski's grasp of unintended consequences, I'd be moving a safe distance away -- one or two miles minimum.

All in all, if you're going to remove trees, let's give us the Lake Muhlenberg free fireworks lawn back and the Little Lehigh sledding hill.

michael molovinsky said...

by coincidence i was thinking about the parkway sled hill yesterday. in addition to planting the trees at the top off of lehigh parkway south, they let the wagon trail grow in. i believe this trail was historic and predated both the development (mid 40's) and even the park. the trail started about where catalina turns off, and came out about halfway up the hill. about halfway down the trail there was a kiln pit (real one, not ornamental). we are quickly losing any official sense of allentown park history. a recent publication by the park dept. refers to the historic west park fountain. apparently, they do not realize that it is a reproduction, and the original was replaced by a modern ones for decades

Anonymous said...

Two clusters of trees planted in the 80s above the log and stone house and to its right by a former park director to discourage (we were told) children from sledding down both hillsides. The same director had a cluster of trees planted above the Robin Hood parking lot where once there was a small open meadow. Park directors rule with an iron and sometimes destructive fist. Quite possibly, of all city departments, a parks director's decisions can leave devastation for decades to come.

Anonymous said...

Before Gore Kneel said...
Increasing the run off from the south mountain above the resevoir is certain to aggravate the rather extensive sinkhole system on South Mountain. I think we can expect debris flows crashing into the neighborhoods below. Whether the integrity of the resevoir is breached might be a stretch, but considering Pawlowski's grasp of unintended consequences, I'd be moving a safe distance away -- one or two miles minimum.

All in all, if you're going to remove trees, let's give us the Lake Muhlenberg free fireworks lawn back and the Little Lehigh sledding hill.

July 6, 2009 9:53 AM

Comment more telling than writer's might think. One can
easily stand in Lehigh Parkway during a heavy rainstorm and watch topsoil wash down hillsides and into the stream.

Before Gore Kneel said...

Here's an interesting summer time adventure. Take a friend, and a cell phone. (see below) Go to the South Mountain Resevoir and drive along the loop road. At roughly 2 o'clock, park and walk up the hill on the wide path (that is more or less is in the direction of 309's cut over the South Mountain.) You'll crest a bluff, and between the several huge boulders you can make your way down to a wide gully. As you get to the gully floor walk carefully, and avoid falling into the sinkholes. The one I saw was about six foot square at the surface with nice steep sides going down god knows how far.

It's a true test of whether or not you have a spelunker gene. I don't and it scared the crap out of me -- and decided that I'd only go back when I have a buddy with me. There's no point in falling into a hole in the ground if there's no one to hear you yell for help.

That's the west side.

If you follow the bluff east, you will find a comparable gully system the drains east. It eventually pools in about an acre sized pond. (About 9 or 10 o'clock along the park road.) When I was there it was full of brown water. I doubt that anyone that lives below that pit has any idea that there's a body of water just waiting to find an easier path downhill. It may take an earthquake to shake things up enough; it could happen.

Other interesting aspects of that area are the numerous 8 foot deep pits, probably dug to find jasper or low grade iron ore, but they could be sinkholes. In some places the paths that you walk on are surrounded by pits, sort of like walking on the high points of an open egg container. You can reasonably guess their age by the size of the trees.

Mountain bikers like the whole set up it seems. It'll be interesting to see if they still go up there once the forest is removed. My guess is yes; never let an opportunity to really rut up a landscape go by.

michael molovinsky said...

it's a hugh park, about 8o plus acres on each side of rt.78/309. safety hazards such as you mention should be addressed, not the addition of maintenance intensive venues