Essex County is spending millions to upgrade the Turtle Back Zoo.
Location: Turtle Back Zoo Education Center, 560 Northfield Ave., W.O.
OGWO states: "The Zoo is now on the verge of becoming both a nuisance and a danger. With 900,000 annual visitors in 2017, the traffic is now noticeable.
Trees have been planted to replace those that have been cut down for zoo expansion, but they are too close together. One cannot replace a forest ecosystem with trees scattered in traffic areas. The South Mountain reservation was not meant to be developed, it is a reserve.
We are also concerned about the potential for accidents to both pedestrians, visitors, and to the animals themselves. Limited sidewalk and parking options for visitors, poor shuttle service, loss of parking spaces for entrance expansion, seating for persons with disabilities, traffic entanglements on a busy and major thoroughfare, loss of trees and reservation land, and so many rare animals out of their native environments and in the hands of accident-prone humans.
We need to focus on protected land for animals to run free and live normal lives, not be traded, transported or exhibited to the public.
Please consider attending the meeting to say that the Zoo is big enough.
WO does not need $900,000 spent on flamingos - we need $900,000 spent on safety and protection of our natural environment!"