Sparta Independent earns first place in national newspaper contest

Wins 'Best Environmental Series' for Sparta Mountain coverage

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  • Photo taken in early 2016 showing trees felled near Sparta Mountain by the state Department of Environmental Protection Photo by Vera Olinski

The National Newspaper Association awarded The Sparta Independent first place for its stories on the Sparta Mountain debate.

The series, written by the Sparta Independent’s reporter Erika Norton, covered the conflict over the Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area Forest Stewardship Plan, and took first place in the National Newspaper Association’s Environmental Series category. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection planned to allow logging parts of the forest in Sussex County to create a “young forest habitat” for the endangered Golden-winged warbler. Local residents, environmentalists, and environmental groups opposed the plan.

“The Sparta Mountain plan was of huge importance to our community,” said Jeanne Straus, publisher of The Sparta Independent. “Kudos to Erika for her great reporting on such a complex, hotly-debated issue.”

To re-visit the award winning pieces, go to:

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