As it is said in the Greene and Haines textbook, natural capital is defined as “the stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources in a locality or region; including air, water, land, flora, and fauna”. Natural capital is important to the community because one can gauge the long-term viability of said community.
The South Mountain Reservation is a nature reserve that covers 2,112 acres and is the biggest park in the Essex County Park System. It extends into Maplewood as well as in portions of neighboring towns such as Millburn, West Orange and South Orange. It has been preserved for the most part in its natural state aside from the construction of trails, footbridges and shelters carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Today, a volunteer, non-profit organization called South Mountain Conservancy is in charge of “preserv[ing], protect[ing] and enhanc[ing] the South Mountain Reservation through active stewardship, advocacy, and education” (South Mountain Conservancy, n.d.). The reservation itself consists of “50 miles of trails[,] […] vistas of new york city, a dramatic 25-foot waterfall at Hemlock Falls, the cascade of Maple Brook in the deep woods, and millponds, streams, and picnic areas and open fields in the interior valley” (South Mountain Conservancy, n.d.). As far as wildlife is concerned, Diamond Mill pond is located on the grounds of the reservation and is “stocked with trout by the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife” (NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, 2016) and a permit is needed in order to fish there. On top of that, there is an abundance of deer, which became a conservancy issue because the loss of vegetation “has prevented new trees from growing, created erosion problems and allowed invasive plant species to flourish and caused the number of native animal species that rely on the plants for food or protection to decline” (The County of Essex, New Jersey, 2016). Because of this issue, the Essex County Deer Management program was created in 2008 and the qualified, volunteer marksmen that were selected to participate have since culled over 1,000 deer from the reservation (240 in 2016 alone).
Trail Map of South Mountain Reservation
NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. (2016, March 2). NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife – Fishing Access Locations on Trout Waters by County. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/accesscnty.htm
The County of Essex, New Jersey | ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF 2016 DEER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM 154 Deer Removed from Essex County South Mountain Reservation and Hilltop Reservation During 10-Day Program. (2016, March 15). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from http://essexcountynj.org/essex-county-executive-divincenzo-announces-results-of-2016-deer-management-program-154-deer-removed-from-essex-county-south-mountain-reservation-and-hilltop-reservation-during-10-day-program/
South Mountain Conservancy | About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from http://www.somocon.org/about-us/