Grand Trees Of Chatham comes out against Chatham Park’s plan to cut down the woods on Northwood property

By JC Garbutt

Pittsboro, NC – We want to alert all of our Grand Trees supporters about a proposed plan by Chatham Park Investors (CPI) to clear the forest between Northwood High School and 15-501 for a sports complex. CPI is asking the Board of Education for permission to do this because the land is owned by the Board.

The proposed plan by Chatham Park Investors would clear the forest on the Northwood High School campus.

This forest is one of the few remaining forested areas surrounding Northwood High School and one of the few remaining green areas bordering Chatham Park on 15-501. It serves as a buffer between Northwood High School and the busy 15-501 corridor. This forest has historical significance to the community as it is also the site of the Northwood Cross Country Team trail with a rich history of introducing many young runners to the joy of running along with a few Championships too!

It is a popular walking and running trail for Chatham citizens as well as students. Additionally, this is a mature forest that provides habitat for a wide variety of birds and other animals. It also provides an outstanding “living laboratory” for Northwood High School science students.

Chatham Park Investors, in its original plans, had proposed building a 40 acre sports complex off of Pittsboro-Moncure road on Chatham Park Investors (CPI) property. They are now hoping to cut down the Northwood HS woods for this purpose–using BOE land! Grand Trees is going to communicate to the Board of Education that we recommend that they reject the Chatham Park Investors (CPI) proposal and instead support as many forested, natural areas as possible within Chatham County and, particularly, this one with such value to Chatham County students and citizens.

If you would like to write to the BOE about this matter here is the contact information:

Current members of the the Chatham County Board of Education:

· Melissa Hlavac-District 1

· David Hamm-District 2

· Del Turner-District 3

· Jane Allen Wilson-District 4

· Gary Leonard-District 5 (Chair)

· Dr. Anthony Jackson, Superintendent

It may be helpful to also CC the Pittsboro Town Board:

Thank you for your ongoing support of Chatham County’s natural environment!

JC Garbutt is chairman of the Grand Trees of Chatham organization.

Established in 2009 and funded for its first couple of years through a modest (around $2,000) N.C. Urban and Community Forestry grant, Grand Trees of Chatham has a simple purpose, defined in the organization’s mission statement: “The mission of Grand Trees of Chatham is to increase public understanding and appreciation of Chatham County’s valuable and irreplaceable trees.”

This story originally appeared on the Grand Trees of Chatham Facebook page.

Bird’s eye view of Northwood’s woods next the commercial property being developed beside the school property.