Passaic County has retained a Forester to help maintain the parks.
The Forester and a certified Tree Expert wrote a report on the proposed Dog Park at Rifle Camp Park, a copy of which is available below.
Download the original Forester’s Report as a PDF: forester_report_dog_park_rcp.pdf
Site Evaluation of the Dog Park Site in Rifle Camp Park
Ron Farr, Certified Forester
Walt Kipp, Certified Tree Expert
July 21, 2018
Farr Forestry Services and Walt Kipp were asked to evaluate a site for a proposed dog park within Rifle Camp Park. The initial meeting took place on July 2nd where the site corners were laid out and there was a brief discussion of the potential project. A second site meeting occurred on July 10th where the site was evaluated further and each individual tree was evaluated within the boundary of the proposed dog park site. This report is the result of those two field site visits.
The proposed site is located south of the first parking area on the left in Rifle Camp Park. It is an oak dominated forest canopy with components of hickory and sassafras. The understory is dominated by red maple with white ash, black birch, black cherry and Amelanchier making up the rest of the subcanopy. The shrub layer like much of the rest of the park is absent due to excessive deer population.
In order to accommodate the placement of the park at this location 91 trees will be removed. Some are dead, some are hazardous. Trees ranged from 1 inch to 22 inches dbh. All but 9 of those trees are < 5 inches in diameter. This count includes only the trees that will be removed within the dog park proposed boundary. Access for equipment will require more trees to be removed and several hazards along the access road into the area will also need to be removed.
There are numerous concerns noted at the proposed site.
1. There is currently water flow across the site from the drainage of the roads and parking areas above the site. This would have to be repaired in order to build the dog park at this location. This runoff has resulted in exposed roots and in other areas siltation.
2. There is an existing sewer line passing through the proposed site to which access would have to be maintained should there be any issues in the future.
3. The terrain is uneven and moderately sloped and may be tiered, resulting in extra site work and construction vehicle access and damage to tree roots through soil compaction and burying the roots with fill material to regrade/tier the site.
4. The soils on this site are shallow. Any damage to the roots can result in trees remaining on site to provide shade to decline and become hazards.
5. Soil compaction will threaten the health of remaining trees and increase runoff.
6. Pruning of dead and hazardous branches will be required. Trees being left should have the branches pruned up to 10 feet and any dead limbs should be removed from trees left within the boundary and the surrounding area.
7. The trail to the site from the parking lot will have to be recleared in order to bring materials into the site. Hazard trees along this trail will also need to be removed.
8. Access to bring materials in the site would have to be established particularly if the area is to be tiered. It was mentioned that trees that remained on site may receive constructed tree wells. Materials for this would also need to be moved into the site and require extensive work.
9. If the site requires ADA accessibility further site work would be necessary.
Tree Protection Prior to Construction
All trees that are planned to remain on site will require protection zones prior to any work being completed. Protection zones laid out with welded wire fencing will protect an area around each tree with fencing being placed at a rate of one foot in radius per inch in diameter. For example, a 2’ diameter tree will have a protection zone of 4’ in diameter. A 12” tree would have a protection zone of 24’ in diameter.
Protection zones and tree wells will be in place prior to any construction and regrading taking place. Tree protection fences will remain in place until construction is completed and should be the last equipment to be removed. Matting should also be utilized on site to protect soil and roots from compaction from heavy equipment movement.
Potential Alternate Sites
Potential alternate sites were noted while on site and are discussed below. Both would require less site work but have not been investigated fully.
Alternate Site 1
As presented alternate site 1 would still provide 41 parking sites. Benefits of alternate site 1.
1. The site is flat would not require any grading or terracing.
2. There is easy access to this site for vehicles to deliver materials.
3. No trees would have to be removed from this site.
4. Impervious cover and runoff would be drastically reduced by reducing the size of an overbuilt parking lot.
5. Trees can be planted in planters which could be maintained and reduce any tripping hazards as roots would be contained in the planters. Planters can also be placed to prevent motor vehicle accidental access.
6. Fill material brought to site can be delivered on existing paved roads.
7. Fencing would be placed along existing curb lines on two sides.
8. The other two sides fence posts can be placed into new curing if required.
9. Fill material will bring the parking lot area only up to the existing curb elevation.
This site could be expanded to include the entire eastern end of the parking lot and provide ample room for a separate small dog and a large dog area within the park. If this expanded park were to be implemented 26 parking spaces would remain on the western section of the parking lot.
Limited protect measures for existing trees would be required to build the dog park in this location as the area is currently paved and would allow ready access for heavy equipment. No materials shall be stored on areas that are not paved at anytime during construction.
Alternate site 2
The second alternate site is adjacent to two parking areas as depicted on the map below. This site is more level with a lower density forest which will reduce the number of trees being removed. The site is adjacent to a road way and two parking lots so there would be no access road required to bring materials in. The soils are still thin but the access requirements for heavy equipment should be minimized. The same tree protection requirements would be implemented as discussed above under the current proposed site. Hazardous trees and branches should be removed and protection zones established around trees that will remain on site.