Economic Development Commission concerned about storm-damaged trees


Ann Genader file photo

BY ANN GENADER
WEST MILFORD – The abandoned dead trees and roadside brush that visitors see when they first enter local roads could be giving them a bad impression of what is here, some concerned residents say.
The Economic Development Commission members pointed to dead trees and shrubs left along roadsides by various storms over the years as they held ongoing discussions about local esthetics and safety.
With the annual spring West Milford Beautification Day about to take place on April 27 they searched for some action that could be taken to address the very visible existing roadside problem.
The commissioners are looking for officials to consider removal of downed tree branches and limbs that are visible on Macopin, Union Valley, and other main artery roads.
According to EDC meeting minutes, the commissioners believe that existing unsightly debris can no longer be ignored.
A letter prepared by the EDC to alert municipal officials to the problem suggested that clearing the berm of the roads that are cluttered with the fallen tree remains would help to make West Milford a cleaner, more attractive, community.
The communication noted this is an operation that might require more effort than picking up litter as it involves de-snagging.
EDC Commissioner Claudia Logan brought the subject to Mayor Michelle Dale and the Township Council at its April 3 workshop meeting.
Points presented were that fallen tree trunks and limbs are obstructing road berms and pose a hazard to vehicles, excessive dead forest debris is a potential for hazards, and the storm left-overs create trash by the roadside and are an eyesore.
Mayor Dale said she shared the concerns and suggested that the EDC contact the public works supervisor for input and information.
A Tree Licensing Law was passed in New Jersey on April 17, 2017.
It created two new license categories for firms to do tree work in New Jersey.
The categories are “Licensed Tree Expert and Licensed Tree Care Operator”.
Every company doing tree work now must have at least one licensed expert who has passed an exam and meets a continuing education requirement.
Also being researched is what New Jersey state law directs in way of recovery process for forests destroyed by storms.
EDC Chair JoAnn Blom and her commissioners are looking at various ways to make a positive effect on the township’s economy.
A former marketing instructor at West Milford High School, Blom is now volunteering as an appointed member of the commission and sharing her expertise to help current businesses, and encourage new ones to locate in the township.