Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Morristown National Historical Park. Deer Hunt. Vegetation / Deer Management Plan.

The deer of Morristown, New Jersey need your help. They have had relative safety in the woods of Morristown National Historical Park, but that may end soon. The National Park Service (NPS) may decide that it is time to cull their population in order to preserve mixed hardwood species that don't get a chance to grow (the white-tailed deer eat up the saplings, according to them) and consequently nonnative invasive species would overrun the place. With an eye on aesthetics, the NPS prefers that the national historical park look like it did when our revolutionary army was encamped there.

I don't get the point here. Obviously, with the creation of park centers, parking lots, roads, and trails, the NPS had become a greater, guilty party than the deer in changing the landscape of the area. Further, if the NPS is so concerned about authenticity, then why have they not enlarged the present day continental army parade ground to its original dimensions? Along the same lines, why have they not fully and accurately delineated the perimeter of the area known to have contained thousands of soldiers' huts? So much for authenticity!

The NPS' two-part plan (Vegetation & White-tailed deer), if adopted, will allow for the hunting of the white-tailed deer in two areas of the park. The section that pertains to deer "management" provides for fencing, reproductive control, lethal reduction w/o firearms, and of course the very nicely put, "lethal reduction with firearms." This last item, if truth be told without the sugarcoating, means letting the hunters go in and shoot them up.

Of course, for those of us who are for animal rights, reproductive control is good enough for the NPS' purposes. Although effective and humane, reproductive control, I suspect, is not all there is in this matter. It is very likely that the hunting groups have sidled up to the NPS people in order to open up more hunting grounds for them, and the NPS have begun to bow to their wishes.

The scoping period is almost over, on the 14th, and we need everyone to send in their comments here:

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=41815

Tell the NPS that hunting has no place at the Morristown National Historical Park. Tell them that deer-sightings actually enhances the visitors' experience in the park. Tell them that deer existed in the area before and during the encampment periods at Morristown, and so what is this talk about the deer changing the vegetation in the park.

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