Group now wants National Lakeshore not to cut down any trees
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org March 25, 2013 1:20PM
Updated: March 25, 2013 9:13PM
A group of Dune Acres residents claims the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is violating a truce to not cut down trees in a section of Cowles Bog and now calls for an injunction against all tree removal.
The Coalition to Protect Cowles Bog Area sued the national park in December, claiming the project to cut down trees in about 24 acres in Cowles Bog was hurting the environment and local beauty. The national park and several prominent environmental groups, including the Field Museum in Chicago, say the project will restore the bog to its original state, which did not include so many trees.
The coalition originally called for an immediate injunction against cutting any trees, but the two sides reached an agreement to halt cutting only in the southeast corner of the project area, which is just next to Mineral Springs Road.
The agreement was extended a few weeks ago to allow U.S. District Judge Philip Simon time to decide the merits of the case, with the added stipulation that the national park could allow the Northern Indiana Public Service Company to perform its normal trimming of tree limbs near utility wires.
The national park is trying to use this as a run-around to cut down the rest of the trees, the coalition claims in new court filings. The group claims the national park gave NIPSCO the authority to cut down trees 50 feet from the road, which is more than is needed for normal tree trimming.
“Instead, this is a back-door maneuver on the part of defendants to cut down additional trees,” the filing says.
The group is asking Simon to ban the park from cutting down any trees at all.