PSE&G is planning to walk and use "mules," essentially all-terrain golf carts, on a popular Turkey Mountain hiking trail so the utility company can install the controversial Susquehanna-Roseland power line, the executive director of the Morris County Park Commission said at the commission's Monday meeting.
The company needs access to the power line that runs over Turkey Mountain so it can install new lines that have twice the height and capacity.
Representatives of the Lake Valhalla Club and Valhalla Civic Association who attended the Park Commission meeting, held at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, said they worry about how the traffic will harm the area, and wondered why the Valhalla Glen trail was determined to be the best way to access the power line.
Morris County Park Commission Executive Director David Helmer said the commission has been focusing on causing less harm to park land, and that original plans that called for installing access roads have been scaled back.
PSE&G would probably need access to the trail for about a month, and that most the heavy equipment would be transported to the area by helicopter.
The Valhalla Glen trail, toward the north end of Lake Valhalla, is part of Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area. PSE&G has been working with the Morris County Park Commission to get permission to use the Park Commission land so it can complete the project.
Lucy Tullo, president of the Valhalla Civic Association, which represents 250 homeowners who live in the Lake Valhalla neighborhood next to the Valhalla Glen, said in a statement the Park Commission was given the Glen so they could "retain it as a nature preserve and keep it in it’s natural state without any 'disturbance what so ever of habitat.'"
"The Valhalla Civic Association does not want vehicles to go through the Glen, dripping gasoline and oil, loosening the soil or clearing any vegetation to make room for the vehicles," she said.
"We are also extremely concerned with any additional traffic that would be going through the area. The roads are narrow and there is a great deal of foot and bicycle traffic along the roads leading to the Glen. During the summer months, the traffic around the Lake Valhalla club increases with children riding bikes to and from the Club, members crossing the street to use the facilities and many people jogging, walking dogs, families with strollers all walking along the narrow roads."
"The Valhalla Civic Association requests that the Morris County Park Commission preserves the Valhalla Glen in its current pristine condition and to stop PSE&G from destroying the land and compromising the integrity of our neighborhood," she said.