Letter to the editor: $600,000 of the Forge Pond Settlement should go to Historical Preservation Society

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Dear Editor:

All $600,000 of the Forge Pond Settlement Ordinance 2017:04, should go to Parsippany Historical Preservation Society

History is a story that played out on a landscape in a time epoch. The main ingredient to any historical epoch is the actual landscape or designated landmark unimpaired as much as possible accordingly into the present. Historical structures should be accompanied by historical landscapes. As the dictionary defines landscape all the visible features of an area of countryside or land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal.

The struggle for Forge Pond has lasted over 30 years; much of it should have not occurred in the way it did. It is a mystery, which would require much research into how much of old Parsippany exchanged hands when land was cheap or simply vacant of its original inhabitants. Beginning in roughly 1708 the Mackseta Cohunge Purchase Treaty, attempted to wrestle the ownership from the remaining native Munsee Tribe in what is today much of Morris County. Much of this landscape was a great swamp and wetland complex, with its associated wooded uplands and farmsteads. The background of the Great Passaic River Valley encloses all of this topographic area. In short much of the history of Parsippany itself is the story of water, 30,000 years ago when the melting ice formed the Great Lake Passaic.

Forge Pond is actually an organically linked up-stream ecological component of the once ancient lake Passaic now known as the Troy Meadows Wildlife Preserve. This unique landscape was recognized by the Federal Authorities in the 1930’s and finally became in 1967 a Natural National Landmark, recognized by the US Department of the Interior.
Over the years because of development and the Interstate Highway system Troy Meadows has shrunk and suffered many impacts from pollution. Parsippany finally incorporated Troy Meadows into its master plan (not sure of the year).

The controversy of Parsippany incorporating Forge Pond Landscape into its open space acquisition began in 1989. Lawsuits ensued and settlements proceeded. In 1987 New Jersey passed the Wetlands Protection Act, which in effect kept the actual pond area wetland complex off-limits, however gray areas existed with transition zones, and other natural phenomena like vernal pools. Developers were still allowed much latitude in their plans.

We fast forward to 2010 and 2013 and we see that Forge Pond is still in private hands and it’s being further degraded in its scope and complex. Parsippany rather than stick to their guns in a lawsuit to go bust for the forge pond complex compromises with the modern owner Mosberg. Finally Parsippany is left with 124 acres of wetlands; off limits to development and what is to become a natural passive recreational area, for the residents and wildlife.

Therefore in celebration of this finality, Ordinance 2017:04, all of the $600,000 dollars allotted for the closure and remediation of the Forge Dam; $600,000 being an excessive amount for the satisfaction of the issue, according to State sources. (Many past engineering studies have already been done). The money or surplus should be designated entirely to the Parsippany Historical Society for their needs in keeping up our heritage in other aspects of required finance and maintenance. In the short and long term $600,000 is not that much and what remains after the Dam Remediation should be awarded to the Society. Who would object to this? The Society merits this outcome, of the Forge Pond settlement.

Nick Homyak
Lake Hiawatha

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