January 17, 2014 at 6:44 AM
WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Essex County Deer Management Program will be conducted for four days in South Mountain Reservation on Tuesdays, January 21 and 28 and Thursdays, January 23 and 30 in the afternoon hours. The reservation will be closed to the public on those days.
Reducing the number of deer is part of an ongoing initiative by the government to preserve and restore the forest ecology in Essex County’s open spaces.
“We have been very successful in reducing the deer population in our reservations to a manageable level, which has enabled us to transition our program from aggressively removing deer and scaling it back to where our goal is to maintain the population,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said. “While we have made tremendous progress, it is important to continue this maintenance mode to preserve the forest habitat and maintain our reservations as viable resources for recreation and open space.”
“Since we started in 2008, we have removed 922 deer from our reservations, started a program to accelerate the re-growth of our forests and introduced a pilot program to reduce traffic accidents involving deer. The over abundance of deer affects all of our communities, and our program provides a comprehensive approach to address the problem,” he said.
“Since this program started in 2008, we have not had any incidents,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said. He added that the Sheriff’s Office and municipal police departments will work cooperatively to implement a comprehensive safety program.
Representatives from the Hilltop Conservancy and the South Mountain Conservancy, two volunteer groups that work cooperatively with the County to revitalize the Park System, supported the Deer Management Program.
“We appreciate the County’s ongoing commitment. Having this program every year is important to lower the density of the deer population in the reservation so that the forest regeneration program can be more effective,” South Mountain Conservancy President Dennis Percher said.