ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A volunteer group in Ross Township is frustrated as dozens of trees in a park have been cut down.
The group, “Friends of Short Line Hollow Park,” works to create better conditions, bike lanes and trails in the area.
One of the group’s members, Joseph Brandt, told Channel 11 that Ross Township officials cut down more than a dozen trees in the park.
“The problem with losing the trees is as distressing as it is to lose the park and get rid of a place for people in a township to exercise,” Brandt said. “The fact of the matter is those trees... some of them are over hundreds of years old, and there’s no way to replace or restore that hillside in my lifetime.”
However, Ross Township commissioners gave Channel 11′s Ryan Houston a much different picture of what has been going on.
He said despite the rumors, there has been no logging going on at all. Instead, DeMarco said the tree removal was approved by local government officials to stabilize the land.
Channel 11 cameras saw at least three trees cut down in about 40 minutes on Cemetery Lane.
Dan DeMarco, the president of the board of commissioners, issued the following statement regarding the trees cut down:
“What you are seeing is not logging, it is tree removal as part of a slope stabilization plan initiated when the Reis Run Road landslide occurred. It was approved by engineers and appropriate governmental agencies, including the Allegheny County Conservation District, to develop the land for erosion and sediment control that is vital to ensuring the stability of the land. This is all required because of the fill received from the Reis Run Road landslide and to be received from the development of B.J.’s Warehouse. At the same time, we will be working on how best to develop access to, and further development of, the trails in the Short Line Hollow.”
Next week, Ross Township commissioners are meeting with engineers and other volunteers to decide on the next steps for the park.