In the kitchen with Steve Sangle

| 04 Sep 2012 | 06:36

By Ginny Raue

He’s an environmentalist and a hunter, yet there’s no conflict. He’s been volunteering his time on the West Milford Environmental Commission since 1984, currently serving as its chairman. He values the natural resources of the town and strives to guard its integrity. And he’s been to Africa to hunt impalas and kudus. His name is Steve Sangle, he’s 62 and he’s lived in West Milford since 1971.
Born and raised in Wanaque, Sangle attended LaSalle Academy in New York City and then graduated from Lakeland High School in 1968. He earned an associate’s degree in psychology at Fairleigh Dickenson University.
Married to Janice since 1975, the couple has two adult children, Tanya and Stephen, and five grandchildren. They have built several homes on Pinecliff Lake, the last being more accommodating for Janice, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the early 1990s.
“She’s been a real trooper, she never complains. All she cares about is helping others with disabilities,” Sangle said. To that end, Janice organized “Squeaky Wheels,” a support group for people with MS and other disabilities. “It’s like therapy, helping to make their lives better. She’s my star,” her husband said.
The Sangles enjoy the town’s rural nature. “Where else can you go and awaken to fawns and baby turkeys in your yard. An occasional bear or two find their way also but do no harm except breaking a few ornamental bushes to scratch their backs,” he said.
A union ironworker by trade, he labored in the field until 1987 then became a supervisor working on such high-profile projects as the Route 287 bridge over the Wanaque Valley and the Advanced Warhead Development Facility at Picatinny Arsenal.
In 1995, the Sangles opened two union ironworker companies of their own, “Sangle Consultants” and “Sangle Associates,” working on projects such as the Devils Arena and the Hudson-Bergen light rail tunnel. Demonstrating that the “boss” is never off duty, multiple calls from the field came in during the interview for this article.
“The other night I slept with my cell phone on my chest,” Sangle said. He was recently appointed as a trustee to the District Council of Ironworkers Funds of Northern New Jersey.
Asked about the Environmental Commission and their mission, Sangle replied, “It oversees the natural resources and environment of the township and protects them against adverse conditions and development. We work very closely with the planning board and we review anything that comes before the planning board or board of adjustment. They ask our opinion, if there would be any adverse environmental impact.”
For example, if a resident wants to put an addition on their home close to the property line, it would be reviewed with concern about possible runoff to another’s property. If a commercial building is proposed, how would the lighting affect surrounding properties.
“Our township is one of lakes, mountains and natural resources. If left unguarded we could lose all of the beauty and resources,” lessening the desirability of the area, he said.
The commission also works on obtaining grant money to meet their goals. A current project is a system at Awosting that will prevent excess phosphorous from entering Greenwood Lake. One pound of phosphorous entering the lake produces 1,100 pounds of algae, Sangle said.
Sangle spoke of the Wetlands Environmental Center on Maple Road, an educational tool for students and residents.
“Being a very sensitive wetland, that property contains numerous special plants and animals, indigenous to wetlands.”
Through the use of informative signage, a tour on the boardwalk allows residents to learn more about their local environment. At one time, beavers took over the site and flooded the area. The state trapped and relocated them.
“Beavers can create a wetland but they can also create a lake that destroys trees and plants,” Sangle said.
Sangle believes in the natural order of things. When it comes to animals and hunting, he believes that the key is logical management, keeping the numbers in tune with what the land can sustain. He spoke of Africa, where the cattle ranches are enormous and the farmers were killing off wild life because they competed with the cows for grazing. The government now allows landowners to charge hunters a fee to cull the wild life on their property with some of the money put into a preservation fund to feed animals when there is a shortage.
Sangle also enjoys fishing and golf and has traveled the world. He’s hunted deer in Montana, moose in Newfoundland and has fished in Cabo San Lucas and Canada.
While he enjoys cooking and has provided a recipe for Veal Marsala, he didn’t say anything about roping calves.