Photographing the pipeline route, Part 11: Kingwood into Frenchtown

This section of the pipeline route has the pipeline going through incredible scenic views, state parks, and extraordinarily steep slopes. Clearly you can see this part of Hunterdon County is really hilly with many streams, brooks, and creeks.

Spring Hill Road Scenic View
A view from Spring Hill Road to the North West. I included these shots as a far reaching view of the country the pipeline is going through.

Spring Hill Road Scenic view closeup
A closeup view of the previous shot.

Spring Hill Road Scenic Rolling Mountains
A closeup on the mountains in the distance.

Spring Hill Road View to the North
A view more to the North rom Spring Hill Road.

Spring Hill Road Copper Creek Preserve
Down the road from the scenic view is an entry way into the Copper Creek Preserve. This preserve is part of the larger Horseshoe Bend Preserve, 477 acres of preserved land in the bluffs overlooking the Delaware River. The preserve took 10 years of negotiation to put together and is owned by Kingwood Township and is a true treasure in Hunterdon County. My wife and I regularly take our dogs to a dog run they’ve created on Horseshoe Bend road; it’s a 6 acre completely fenced in field where dogs can run free off of leases without worrying they’ll run away or get into trouble.

The pipeline is slated to go through the middle of the entire length of the preserve and cross all of its major streams, including Copper Creek.

Spring Hill Road Copper Creek Preserve sign
Here’s the electric company easement and a Copper Creek Preserve sign next to it. In a cruel twist of irony the pipeline route is probably going right through where the sign is today.

Spring Hill Road Copper Creek Preserve looking north
Looking north along the cut. Another narrow zone that will most likely need to be widened by PennEast.

Spring Hill Road looking north closeup
A closeup of the previous shot.

Spring Hill Road looking South
Looking south from Spring Hill Road. The cut looks even narrower on this side.

Spring Hill Road looking South widen angle
A wider angle of the previous shot.

Spring Hill Road Green acres sign
A green acres sign just west of the pipeline route. I guess we’ll have to change the text from:

“This privately owned land is dedicated to public recreation and/or conservation purposes”


“This privately owned land is dedicated to public recreation and/or conservation purposes and/or energy company profits”.

Horseshoe Bend Road, The Farm
On Horsehoe Bend Road is a site labelled simply “The Farm”. I googled this a year ago and I forgot the story behind it, and I can’t seem to find it now. I feel like it might’ve been a religious organization or something that owns the land. The pipeline will be running right through their property and is where it will cross Copper Creek.

Horseshoe Bend Road, The Farm and Copper Creek
Picture of Copper Creek running along The Farm’s driveway. The Pipeline will cut across both the driveway and the creek.

Horseshoe Bend Road, Copper River bridge
Stone bridge over the Copper Creek. This shows how strong the current can be during times of snow melt and heavy rain.

Ridge Road clearing
Over on Ridge Road in Frenchtown, NJ the pipeline veers away from existing easements and beats a virgin path through the land. Here we’re looking South East from the road.

Ridge Road clearning, Ridge Road Farmer’s Club
Apparently the Ridge Road Farmer’s Club owns this land. Let’s hope they keep PennEast out.

Creek Road, no dumping!
Creek Road in Frenchtown is, frankly, a terror. It’s dirt at the best times, and pure mud when I went over it. It’s barely wide enough for my pickup truck. To the left is a steep drop of at least 20 feet down into Nishisakawick Creek. To the right is a steep hill going up the mountain. The road curves constantly and is simply scary as hell to drive on. Apparently it serves only two houses, then turns into a state park following the Creek. I’m guessing it’s mostly for fishermen but not sure. The DEP says the creek is home to 20 different species of fish. As you can see the town is worried about illegal dumpers polluting the creek. Let’s hope they arrest and fine PennEast when they try to bring their pipeline through!

Creek Road, no dumping really!
They really, really want to remind you that dumping is illegal here.

Creek Road, diabase at surface
This was right up to and next to the road. It’s diabase bedrock, as you can see it’s bare on the surface here. It’s very tough and PennEast will have to blast to get down to 8′. And they’ll be blasting right next to a protected creek.

Creek Road, creek crossing point looking North West
This is where the pipeline route goes across the creek. The steep on the far end is incredibly steep.

Creek Road Creek Crossing Point Looking South East
Holy crap, look South East and the slope is even steeper! PennEast is gonna dig an 8′ trench in that!? And this is all virgin clear cut, bisecting the creek park land.

Creek Road wide view to north west
A wider angle view of crossing to the north west.

Creek Road trout stocking sign
A standard trout stocking sign from the Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Creek Road state park sign
State park warning sign. They need to add “no massive heavy construction and blasting” to the list.

Creek Road tributary
A small stream that feeds into the creek. You can see how close to the surface the diabase rock is here, that’s what forms the stream bed.

Creek Road Creek view
A view of the creek from inside my truck. The road was so narrow I didn’t want to get out here!

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 9: More of Kingwood

We continue in Kingwood to see such features as a pepper farm and a huge solar panel array imperiled by the pipeline route.
Sanford Road North Closeup
A zoomed in view to the north on Sanford Road.

Hewitt Road (Kingwood) looking south
There are two Hewitt Roads in Hunterdon county – ours and the one here. The pipeline of course is going to cut across both of them.

More moderate hills here for the route.

Hewitt Road Lockaton Wildlife Management Area
Sign for the Lockaton Wildlife Management Area on Hewitt Road. From what I can see the management area is a few hundred yards downstream from the pipeline route.

Feather Bed Lane looking north
Pipeline route just clipping a horse farm on Feather Bed Lane.

Feather Bed Lane looking south
Reverse view looking southward.

Feather Bed Lane north closeup
A zoomed in shot to the north.

Kingwood Locktown Road Pepper Farm
Chile pepper farm on Kingwood Lockdown road. The pipeline route goes through the eastern part of their farm.

Kingwood Locktown Road Looking North
Looking north on Kingwood Lockdown Road.

Kingwood Lockdown Road looking south
Southward view where the pipeline route goes through the chile pepper farm and apparently through some decorative grasses. It looks like they were put there on purpose to camouflage the ugly power line easement cut. And will be gone when the pipeline comes through.

Barbertown Point Breeze Road Solar Array
You can tell that PennEast just used Google Earth or an equivalent program to plan their route and had no feet on the ground. This solar array was just installed in the last few years and does not show up on Google Earth or Google maps. As you can see here it is real, though, and the pipeline is slated to run right through the middle of it. Good planning, guys. We can see you really did careful planning here.

Barbertown Point Breeze Road Northward
Looking north on Barberton Point Breeze Road. I doubt the sportsmen club will be happy with this development.

Barbertown Point Breeze Road Wide Angle
A wide angle shot of previous view.

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 8: Kingwood Township and the Last Covered Bridge

Part 8 starts in Delaware Township but quickly takes us into Kingwood Township, NJ.  This is very hilly terrain with many, many creeks and a very rural character.  It’s also home to the last covered bridge left in New Jersey.
The Last Covered Bridge
The pipeline route is less than a mile from the last covered bridge in existence in New Jersey, the Green Sergeant Covered Bridge.

The Last Covered Bridge head-on
A head on shot of the bridge.

Lower Creek Road Wickecheoke Preserve Sign
A sign showing the Wichecheoke Preserve I had mentioned in a previous post.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road Posted
Posted on Rosemont Ringoe’s road. Apparently this road has two concatenated names but I’m just going to stick with this one to save my fingers typing.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road Farm
The PennEast pipeline is routed to cut this farm in half, including cutting across the farm house driveway. The pipeline route will be next to the electrical poles.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road View South
The view to the south from Rosemont Ringoe’s Road. A bit steep.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road alternate farm view
An alternate view of the farm. This is looking to the north from the road.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road side view of farm
A side view showing clearly how the pipeline route will cut their driveway in half along the electric easement.

Sanford Road horse rider sign
There are many, many horse farms in Delaware Township and Kingwood. One of the FERC submissions mentions it in detail. I wonder how the horses in the area are going to react to construction crews blasting down through the diabase bedrock for this pipeline?

Sanford Road view north
A view of the route from Sanford road to the north. More hills.

Sanford road view south
A view south from Sanford road. There’s an electric substation here and the cut is very narrow.

Sanford Road view south zoomed
A zoomed in version of the previous shot.

Sanford road electrical station
Shot of the sub-station taken from the pipeline line.

Sanford road zoomed shot north
A zoom into the north.

Sanford road protest sign
A creative protest presentation.

Hunterdon is a hot bed of equestrian activity

Horses are everywhere in Hunterdon county. There are two horse farms within spitting distance of my house. On the way to the FERC scoping meeting last night I was on a road that had “25mph when horses present” signs for miles:

Claire is the owner of a horse farm in Kingwood Township, NJ, and her FERC submission talks about equines as you might expect:

I am the owner of a small farm in Kingwood Township, NJ, where I raise horses, not far from the proposed PennEast Pipeline route.

I have two points to make.

First, I am among many equestrians in Hunterdon County who are here because of the land and miles of trails that meander through historically significant property and valuable, preserved open space. Our land is rural, situated between New York and Philadelphia. It is accessible to the cities where many of us work, yet it is a world apart. We live here so that we can enjoy our way of life, commune with our horses and breathe fresh air.

The community of equestrians in Hunterdon County is well known. We are proud of the numerous Olympians who reside and train here. And, each year thousands of amateurs from all walks of life participate in a wide variety of riding sports in Hunterdon County. Many of these riders live here and others drive great distances for what we have to offer, contributing to the notable equestrian economy. The agricultural focus of Hunterdon County has fostered this business and the community.
To name a few, The Readington Trail Association, Amwell Valley Trail Association, Covered Bridge Trail Association, Pittstown Trail Association and the Alexandria Trail Association, are groups that sponsor events throughout the year providing members and riders from the tri-state area access to the unmatched trails in the region. Riding here, over the same fields that the Revolutionary troops did or looking at undisturbed vistas that have stood for millennia from the back of a horse is unique and rare.

Away from the roads and highways we see the natural world at its best. We see natural ecosystems thriving, pristine streams, old growth trees, and hear the calls of thousands of birds. On one recent occasion, in November of 2014, a large group of riders was brought to a standstill, in total awe, when four magnificent bald eagles took flight as we topped a hill in the Sourland Region. They circled a few times giving us a breathtaking memory to cherish. This is why we ride here.

I ask the FERC to consider, as the agency develops the Environmental Impact Statement, the negative impact Hunterdon County and its equestrian community would experience if the PennEast Pipeline were granted approval. Including,

• The right-of-way it would command through valuable rural scenic property, a source of recreational enjoyment for many citizens. This is a place we can escape urban noise and polluted air to ride our horses freely with our senses open.

• The degradation to increasingly threatened natural habitat that is home to millions of organisms.

• The impossibility of mitigation. No landscape in Hunterdon County or anywhere, once cut through by the PennEast pipeline, can be restored. Mitigation, by “replacing” that habitat in another region will simply leave the original land changed for the worse in perpetuity.

For these reasons, please deny the application by PennEast Pipeline (Docket No. PF15-1-000) with a no action, no build decision.

Claire’s complete FERC submission is available below:
Claire’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

Claire’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Holly from Kingwood Township, NJ

Holly writes:

I am writing to express my opposition to the PennEast Pipeline Company and their intent to disrupt our beautiful preserved properties, our clean Delaware River, our C-1 Streams and the wildlife that so depends on this eco-system. I have resided in Hunterdon County NJ my entire life because it is absolutely beautiful and a hidden treasure. My concern is for our drinking water due to Kingwood Township reliance on independent wells. We have no public services in this area and rely solely on deep wells.

As our soil is mostly clay and sub soil is rock it is difficult to dig in this area. If PennEast begins to blast we will lose our wells. I am also concerned over the acceptable leakage amounts by this company. If it should leak anywhere in this area due to the sub soil rock formations it will pollute miles of drinking wells due to the fractioning of that rock. Our water is our most precious resource. I do not want PennEast to ruin our environment, my home community or disrupt the wildlife that we re-introduced to our area ie, the Bald Eagle. Many Bald Eagles now call our Delaware River Valley their home. We also have many areas with tons of Indian artifacts, historical sites, and parks. This pipeline will not be of any benefit to our area and I, again, oppose this pipeline.

Holly’s comments – FERC Generated PDF

Holly’s comments – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

The Mayor of Kingwood NJ is hard core

Richard Dodds, the mayor of Kingwood NJ, knows how to fight for his town.

Richard Dodds, Baptistown, NJ.

Hello, my name is Richard Dodds and I am the mayor of Kingwood Township.

Kingwood Township is 36 square miles in area and has approximately 3,800 residents. All of the households in Kingwood Township are dependent on well water and onsite septic systems. The proposed pipeline will cut through seven miles of the township from north to south with potential impacts on every single well. I urge the commission to read the report and testimony of the Kingwood Township Environmental Commission which clearly spells out Kingwoods underlying geology and the source of our drinking water.

If this Commission does approve this project, I am requesting that FERC requires that all the wells in the Township be monitored – not just those on the properties where the proposed pipeline is sited. This is a critical issue in Kingwood because of the geological features of our bedrock, as described in the aforementioned report. The monitoring, conducted for a minimum of 10 years, should consist of pre and post construction depth to water, well capacity, and recharge reports. This work must be done by qualified independent hydrogeologists paid for, but not employees of, PennEast.

If any wells are negatively affected by the construction of the pipeline, Kingwood Township expects that the Commission will require PennEast to make whole those property owners that are affected, by methods including but not limited to drilling new wells, providing potable water in perpetuity, or fee simple purchase of the property at rates based on the past 10 year high. The same monitoring and making whole should be done for all septic systems within the township.

Kingwood is known for its perched water table and numerous streams. Any and all streams, stream buffers, wetlands, and wetland buffers must be fully delineated and avoided along the route. The wetlands and streams carry water that is used in the recharge of our groundwater and provides drinking water throughout the region. Furthermore, a number of the stream crossings in the proposed pipeline route are high-quality systems that are protected by Federal laws. Delineations must be done by qualified environmental scientists paid for, but not employees of, PennEast.

In addition to our precious water, Kingwood Township is home to a host of threatened and endangered species. Again, I urge you to read the read the report and testimony of the Kingwood Township Environmental Commission. If FERC does approve this project, I am requesting that FERC require a complete multi-season study of threatened and endangered species be conducted within 2000 feet either side of the pipeline footprint. That study should meet the standards set by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for development in the New Jersey Pinelands or the New Jersey Highlands. This study must be done by qualified environmental scientists paid for, but not employees of, PennEast.

The full text is in his submission below:
Kingwood Mayor Comments – FERC Generated PDF

Kingwood Mayor Comments – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site