My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 1 second. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Remember: South Mountain Survey

Sunday, March 14, 2010

South Mountain Survey

After the storm broke out last summer over the possible timber harvesting of South Mountain by the city of Allentown, I was invited to attend a tour of South Mountain with the man from CC Forestry Services. Also attending that humid afternoon were members of the local Sierra Club Chapter, Allentown's Environmental Action Committee, foresters from the DCNR, and Allentown's head forester.

At that time, the result of the survey concluded that South Mountain had too many trees of similar age, growing too close together. The surveyor said that due to these conditions, a fire, fungus, or invasive pest could wipe out the tree population in a rapid fashion. The surveyor also indicated that because of the canopy on South Mountain, a large forest floor population of spicebush limits the biodiversity of the forest and prevents further succession from occurring by blocking access to soil, nutrients and sunlight needed for developing plants to grow. The surveyor said that the seed bank was impressive but present conditions do not allow for its development.

I was told that day that certain, selected numbers of trees should be removed to avoid these issues. To my understanding, that was the result of the survey. I have the documentation that says these things from that tour. It was to my understanding that the surveyor was to prepare a final report and present a plan to City Council.

That has not yet happened.

Imagine my surprise when the Morning Call ran a story this morning about the city withholding information about this project. This makes no sense to me. Why would city officials keep the results of this survey under wraps?

The results of this survey were contested by the EAC and questioned by the DCNR. Leaving South Mountain that afternoon, I was not sold on the results and I still have many questions regarding the environmental sensibility of the results of said survey.

They city cannot move forward with anything from that survey until it is both made public and made available to others, who are qualified to do reconnoitering of their own to determine the validity of the results.

If this survey is being kept under wraps because the city intends to move forward on its conclusions rapidly, without considering public input, that is unacceptable.

Put the survey out there folks. Get second, third, and fourth opinions from others who will give those opinions without costing the taxpayers in Allentown another 7,500 dollars. Trust me, I know some people who will.

In the meantime, why the secrecy? There should be nothing to hide, unless of course.. well... Let's hope not.

Coincidentally, I decided to hold a meet-up hike in April because of the information I have from this survey. Come out that day, I will be talking about it and the issues facing South Mountain from a scientific perspective (which is the most valuable perspective the city has regarding future park development, and the one they need listen to most)

Check out the hike info here:

Hike on South Mountain


Blogger michael molovinsky said...

"In the meantime, why the secrecy? There should be nothing to hide, unless of course.. well... Let's hope not."

andrew, if you visit cedar park it is clear from the black barrier plastic already laid out, that EVERY REDUNANT PATH, breaking cedar park into lawn size sections is going to dug up ASAP

"unless of course" city administrators have been less than forthright with you, city council, me and the citizens? as you well know, you cannot put the ground back, once the blacktop has been laid. you cannot put the tree's back once they're cut down. eventually you must believe your eyes instead of your ears. AS YOU WELL KNOW THE CITY DID NOT HAVE TO HIRE A TIMBER CONSULTANT FOR A FOREST SURVEY, THE STATE FOREST SERVICE WOULD HAVE DONE THAT FOR FREE.

i do recognize that you're questioning what's happening, but please SPEAK OUT LOUDLY before the chainsaws come, as did the bulldozers

March 14, 2010 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

The city didn't have to hire someone, I realize this and am questioning everything going on.

I am not going out on a limb today and ripping the city because I have yet to hear anything about this issue excluding this mornings article in the newspaper.

Cutting trees down at South Mountain is a serious issue and before one tree is even prepped for harvest, a major and intense public debate needs to occur as well (as I stated in my post) as further alternative surveys conducted and presented publicly and to city council.

I am speaking out, and encourage you to come out for the hike in April. It will be a great opportunity for concerned citizens, informed individuals and anyone else who cares about the environmental issues facing the mountain to come out, take a look, talk about it, and get something going.

I do not think trees need to be clear cut in large swatches and people far smarter than myself agree.

March 14, 2010 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger LVCI said...

How the hell did S. Mtn. survive and come to look the way it does for over the last 10,000 years w/o us!

Creation really screwed this up. Thank God we came along.. JUST IN TIME!

If you weren't given this so-called expert information you would have accepted it and enjoyed it for what it was. Now that you have been shown by these experts just how screwed up creation is you are no longer able to see the forest for all these damn non conformist trees!

Nature screws up everything.. like the rain forests, the Amazon, swamps, wetlands and everywhere else you look.

Mankind is pretty damned egotistical if you ask me.

Leave the damned forests alone. It won't cost a dime. No need for a debate either.

Accept nature. Learn from nature and stop trying to train nature how to conform itself to the way we think it should.

This certainly isn't studying the ecological systems.. it's tinkering with them, plain and simple!

March 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Been awhile, LVCI...

I agree. I would love to see a focus in our parks on letting nature be nature - i.e. increasing no mow, redeveloping proper vegetated riparian areas, allowing succession to continue and our fragmented forest patches to grow.

My post today is really about the secrecy currently being employed by city officials regarding this survey. Hiding information like this can only lead to misinformation and in some cases, (see Cedar Beach), environmentally disastrous construction.

I am all for sensible, environmentally sustainable park constructions. Jordan Park and Trout Creek Parkway are begging for it. In those places, the environmental hazards that exist are the result of human interference.

Mass paving exercises, and possible tree cutting for no sensible reason run counter to everything this blog, and I am about.

March 14, 2010 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, you write; "I am not going out on a limb today and ripping the city..."

andrew, i know you lament the paving at cedar park, and if you visit today and see the barrier plastic for the "go cart track" * you will lament it more.

i recall you this summer in the hallway during the meeting on cedar creek park, NOT SPEAKING OUT, not going out on a limb

you may be touring tree stumps next month on south mountain

* my description of the new loop in the loop with the two new crisscross paths

March 14, 2010 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger LVCI said...

Here's something anyone can easily understand. For every tall tree 10 or 20 saplings are awaiting their turn. But because of the shading from the tall trees their growth is denied.

If you cut shade tree canopies and expose the saplings there will then be 10 trees or more were only one stood. The very thing your trying to avoid (overgrowth).

The same OVERGROWTH your encouraging that will rob additional "nutrients and sunlight" far more then now.

If it were true that fungus "could" wipe out the entire forest on S. Mtn... why has it not done so? Dumb luck I guess, eh?

I got a news flash.. these forests flourished on the Earth long before mankind. They have survived fire, Earth movements, floods, hurricanes and glacial periods... AND they will be here long after man if our species were to perish off the face of the Earth.

Up to now these trees were doing pretty well on their own w/o all this tinkering.

Andrew, while you maybe, " My post today is really about the secrecy" you saw what happened. That's why this whole thing has to be stopped right now! It's too late for the parks.

What you describe in your concerns about the parks will come to pass on S. Mtn. if it's not stopped dead in it's tracks here and now before what happened in the parks occurs to S. Mtn. before it takes a foothold and it's too late.

Therefore this should be the highest priority. The parks already have their fate sealed.

March 14, 2010 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...


In my defense, regarding last summer's meeting, I was just getting into this whole thing then. I didn't know half of what I do now, and I had reserved my opinion until I time when I felt I was informed enough to make one.

I have made my opinion on the paved paths very clear, and as soon as I can get some pictures (damn rain/broken camera), I will document and comment on what is going on at CBP currently.

I have studied, researched, and attend a great college wherein I study in an incredible environmental science program with incredible professors and resources. I am still not an authority, not will I pretend to be one. I do however have what I consider to be an informed opinion, and just because I have not yet posted on the recent developments at Cedar Beach, does not mean I condone them, nor does it mean that I don't care.

Check back tomorrow Mike.

It's on.

March 14, 2010 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger LVCI said...

BTW I've tackled this subject on my blog this morning around 8:30 AM

March 14, 2010 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...


I hope that the parks "fate is not sealed."

All of us, who are supporters and lovers of the parks need to band together as the information enters the public arena, get to city council, do whatever to make sure that some sort of epic destruction doesn't occur.

I don't believe it will.

Now, for all the crap I have been getting lately from MM for not speaking out about CBP - excluding the comments he made at a meeting in January, he hasn't written or posted about Trout Creek Or Jordan Park, nor have you, nor has anyone but me.

There are alot of problems affecting our parks.

The right things have yet to be done, and they need to be.

Watch my video about the future of our parks, read post after post on Remember about our forgotten parks.

March 14, 2010 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger LVCI said...

"he hasn't written or posted about Trout Creek Or Jordan Park, nor have you,"

Well I kind of feel it's a stewardship kind of thing. Those that have proceeded me given me what I considered fantastic parks and I've enjoyed them over my lifetime.

I have one way I think they should be.. you another.

The baton is now in the next generation's hands to either screw up or improve.

I've enjoyed them since I was a baby on a blanket with my parents while my step sister was a life guard at Cedar Beach for what you now call Lake Muhlenberg before the cement pond was build (what you now know as the pool).

Personally I now consider these parks your problem. We maintained them and kept them up all these years up until now. If you don't like them the way they are for your generation I will not stand as an obstacle to another generation's and what they want to do with them.

May you receive as much pleasure with the way they turn out over your lifetime.

Even Harry Trexler had to turn over the reins. Pick your battles wisely. There's only so much those that came before you can do for you.

March 14, 2010 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, contrary to lip service given you by weitzel and pattishal, there is no current renovations or improvements being budgeted or approved by council for trout or jordan (to my knowledge, only keck), the battles and attention must be focused on current plans; cedar park, trailnetwork, and south mountain timber harvest. even if you believe the baloney about the trailnetwork plan helping to revitalize allentown, from cedar beach you should deduce the devil is in the paving details. from the bulldozer there, to the refusal to open records about south mountain, you should deduce that neither council or citizens will be informed on any implementations, they may actually be misled.

if my comments seem disrespectful to the wildlands, or friends or environmental advisory, it is because they have compromised their principles again and again.

as far as giving you "crap". you have repeatedly claimed that you will keep an eye out for this or that, and report any environmental wounds inflicted by the city. i can tell you that you will not be able to do that without going out on a "limb" once and awhile. chain-saws and bulldozers work fast. if you're minoring in political science and don't want to burn bridges with the current administration, fine, just say so.

read your post again about the fox news report and me. what's the difference if the cyclists are 1, 2 or 20%. if the paths are being paved and stripped with yellow lines, which is the plan, which group besides the bikes does this benefit?

March 14, 2010 at 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Kleiner, I have been reading your blog, and enjoying it, for 6 or 7 months. I am

March 14, 2010 at 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does the city want as a final outcome of South Mountain?

March 14, 2010 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

I wish I knew anon.

March 14, 2010 at 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The forest on South Mountain has not been there for 10,000 years. That is laughable.

The mountain was clear cut several times over the past 200 years. Clear areas of the mountain existed well into he 20th century.

Considering its unnatural state and proximity to thousands of homes I think we should do more than cross our fingers and assume disaster will not strike.

March 14, 2010 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger LVCI said...


Dear Anonymous ("The forest on South Mountain has not been there for 10,000 years. That is laughable.)

And this is clearly why I haven't commented on other peoples posts for over a month. I always get a irrational uneducated argument that pisses me off.


Before you speak so uninformed, back yourself with a link to support your nonsense.

Like this... via The Wildlands Conservancy
"The South Mountain range (a/k/a the New England Province, the Reading Prong, and Lehigh Mountain) is composed of crystalline rocks, such as granite, gneiss, and quartzite, which are approximately one billion years old.

The rocks are derived from far to the southeast, perhaps as far away as Philadelphia. They were pushed to the northwest into their present location because of a low-angle fault called a “thrust fault.

They sit on top of limestone and shale that is much younger at only about 450 million years old. About 150,000 years ago the Illinoian ice age arrived and receded in the Lehigh Valley."

More unsupported nonsense when you said "Considering its unnatural state --

"Since the early 20th century, the history of South Mountain has been a quieter one. After more than a century of industry and timbering, the natural vegetation regenerated into a mature deciduous forest. Remnants of past industrial activities are still visible but no longer dominate the landscape."
And this is clearly why I haven't commented on other peoples posts for over a month. It's always an argument.

Look I don't care at this point if they build a new expressway on top of the dam thing. Top it off with a mall and stick a 10 story Ferris wheel on top. This area's ruined anyway by people who argue ignorantly and most likely deserve what they get. You frustrated me enough I wash my hands of this topic and as a result will comment no further on other blogs.

This was my one and only comments on another blog in over a month. I was so much happier not making comments other then on my own blog and I don't intend to make this mistake again.

March 14, 2010 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger LVCI said...

BTW: regarding "Considering its unnatural state and proximity to thousands of homes".

Should read-- considering 1,000's of home's unnatural location in proximity to the Mtn.

These people built on the mountain. The mountain didn't built itself underneath them!

March 14, 2010 at 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The mountain was harvested numerous times and there remains a number of large ponds from former quarry mining on the mountain.

Forget about a link. Take a walk and see for yourself.

March 15, 2010 at 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all respect to Mr. Weitzel; if he is not in charge of/responsible for the complete unfortunate mess at Cedar Beach, and he may not be, then who is? Who is running that sorry project? And where are the groups who are supposed to protect and speak up for our parks? I think these are important questions that must be answered.

March 15, 2010 at 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year the City of Allentown announced that the WILDLANDS CONSERVENCY was in charge of South Mountain planning in addition to all Allentowns "urban forestry", whatever the City means by that catch-all. If the Wildlands is the Citys partner on all this then how come we don't hear a peep out of them? You got Wildlands contacts Andrew, what do they tell you? Are they in on back room dealing?

March 16, 2010 at 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So much for an open process. Again.

March 17, 2010 at 3:01 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home