Mount Manresa- Staten Island- Tragic logging unfolding

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Erik Danielsen
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Mount Manresa- Staten Island- Tragic logging unfolding

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:53 am

Sad news today from friends in Staten Island. Mount Manresa is a small site treasured by the local community containing some historical buildings, a prayer grotto, and about 400 very old trees (the notables being tuliptrees and oaks). I imagine there are some here who know the site but I've never heard of it until today.

Apparently the site was not long ago sold by its long time owners (the jesuit church) to a development company, Savo Brothers of Prince's Bay, who plan to clear the site and build 250 housing units there. This met significant resistance from the community, and with a committee formed and a state senator speaking up there was some sort of restraining order put in place until some impact evaluations could be carried out. Yesterday, a judge in one of the city's courts lifted that order and today the Savo's work crews arrived at the crack of dawn and got their saws ripping away. Witnesses mention that they started with some of the biggest and oldest trees (which are also closest to the grotto). Even if the logging goes no further, a lot has already been lost. An improvised protest formed but of course there was little they could do.

It's a real loss, both the trees and the community space. They've been fighting hard but apparently development steamrolling community interests (hand in hand with city government) is not a new experience for Staten Island. Moving so aggressively as soon as the bare minimum permission was secured and going right after the most significant targets first, it's hard not to see the actions of the development company as genuinely spiteful and malicious. If any ENTS are nearby and have the time, here's the protest shoutout for tomorrow, from facebook:

"WEDNESDAY: WE WILL BE AT MOUNT MANRESA--- FINGERBOARD ROAD FRONT ENTRANCE GATES AND NARROWS NORTH/NORTH DRIVE-- EITHER ENTRANCE IS FINE: 7AM ONWARD: KEEP WATCH AND PROTEST AGAINST THE CONTINUED DESTRUCTION. TODAY MANY OF THE OLD GROWTH TREES WERE FELLED. THERE WERE A LOT OF THINGS WRONG WITH TODAY (IE, THE EQUIPMENT WAS INADEQUATE, THE WORKERS DID NOT HAVE PROPER PROTECTION, THERE WAS NO SILT FENCE, AND OTHER THINGS)... WE NEED PEOPLE TO BE ON GUARD, TO CALL 311, TO TAKE PHOTOS/VIDEO, ETC. PM ME IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION. SPREAD THE WORD."

A news article (this news site has annoying popups, unfortunately): http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/20 ... ld_fe.html

Joe

Re: Mount Manresa- Staten Island- Tragic logging unfolding

Post by Joe » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:56 am

I have a friend who grew up on Staten Island. She said that the island is much more developed than when she was a child in the 50s. You'd think that the city/state (whatever) could have protected this forest, probably one of the few left on the island.
Joe

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dbhguru
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Re: Mount Manresa- Staten Island- Tragic logging unfolding

Post by dbhguru » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:34 am

All,

Sad, but not the least bit surprising. I spent time on Staten Island with my old friend the late Bruce Kershner in the early 2000s. I remember the time fondly. I expect that he's looking down and sadly shaking his head.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Erik Danielsen
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Mount Manresa- Staten Island- Tragic logging unfolding

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:07 pm

As an update they don't even have their permits in place yet- but apparently they don't need them for the trees. The developer's actions are openly hostile to the community. Kershner's work is a very positive inspiration to me; incidents like this, for better or worse, are an inspiration of a different kind.

greenent22
Posts: 201
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:23 am

Re: Mount Manresa- Staten Island- Tragic logging unfolding

Post by greenent22 » Mon May 12, 2014 11:31 pm

Erik Danielsen wrote:Sad news today from friends in Staten Island. Mount Manresa is a small site treasured by the local community containing some historical buildings, a prayer grotto, and about 400 very old trees (the notables being tuliptrees and oaks). I imagine there are some here who know the site but I've never heard of it until today.

Apparently the site was not long ago sold by its long time owners (the jesuit church) to a development company, Savo Brothers of Prince's Bay, who plan to clear the site and build 250 housing units there. This met significant resistance from the community, and with a committee formed and a state senator speaking up there was some sort of restraining order put in place until some impact evaluations could be carried out. Yesterday, a judge in one of the city's courts lifted that order and today the Savo's work crews arrived at the crack of dawn and got their saws ripping away. Witnesses mention that they started with some of the biggest and oldest trees (which are also closest to the grotto). Even if the logging goes no further, a lot has already been lost. An improvised protest formed but of course there was little they could do.

It's a real loss, both the trees and the community space. They've been fighting hard but apparently development steamrolling community interests (hand in hand with city government) is not a new experience for Staten Island. Moving so aggressively as soon as the bare minimum permission was secured and going right after the most significant targets first, it's hard not to see the actions of the development company as genuinely spiteful and malicious. If any ENTS are nearby and have the time, here's the protest shoutout for tomorrow, from facebook:

"WEDNESDAY: WE WILL BE AT MOUNT MANRESA--- FINGERBOARD ROAD FRONT ENTRANCE GATES AND NARROWS NORTH/NORTH DRIVE-- EITHER ENTRANCE IS FINE: 7AM ONWARD: KEEP WATCH AND PROTEST AGAINST THE CONTINUED DESTRUCTION. TODAY MANY OF THE OLD GROWTH TREES WERE FELLED. THERE WERE A LOT OF THINGS WRONG WITH TODAY (IE, THE EQUIPMENT WAS INADEQUATE, THE WORKERS DID NOT HAVE PROPER PROTECTION, THERE WAS NO SILT FENCE, AND OTHER THINGS)... WE NEED PEOPLE TO BE ON GUARD, TO CALL 311, TO TAKE PHOTOS/VIDEO, ETC. PM ME IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION. SPREAD THE WORD."

A news article (this news site has annoying popups, unfortunately): http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/20 ... ld_fe.html
Horrible! Truly old forest patches are so rare in this region. I had heard there were a very few on Staten Island. Awful that one may be gone now.

This reminds me of what Bear Stearns did in NJ! They bought a parcel of land in Morris County, NJ that actually had a rich soil, old-growth forest patch with easy access, 5' DBH oaks and such. Said to have been some sacred area for the Lenape Indians I believe. It had wetlands and probably didn't meet building code. But they ran in bulldozers and covered up all the wetlands and supposedly paid off some so it would be declared wetlands free. People begged them to at least leave the old-growth patch untouched (even if it would now be right next to a parking garage and other yuck, but at least still there). They refused. They said they didn't feel like bulding a parking garage and sprawling the parking lot all over the property would be a TINY bit cheaper (Bear Stearns was rolling in billions of dollars at this time too). They refused to sell the land to for preservation and they refused to alter the parking lot design and rushed in and chopped 'em all down and laughed at everyone, all the little people crying over their silly trees. The leader of Bear Stearns got greedier and greedier and they became the first major company to fall and collapse during the recent banking scandal and near world-wide depression.

So some greedy jerks help sink the world economy and trash astonishingly rare old-growth for a headquarters that they only got to use for like I think maybe even less than ten years! An empty ghost building and parking lot sitting on ancient, no more, old-growth.

Unfortunately I never saw it (although maybe it made it a touch easier to take, had it been truly grand, old-growth as they say....). By the time I saw the articles, they had already swept in and cut it down and paved it over.

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