Recent development plans imperil the Mt. Mitchill viewshed, which we profiled in the New Jersey Monthly September 2011 edition, highest elevation ocean view on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Noted today for a 9/11 memorial in its foreground, which faces the visible Manhattan skyline; and centuries ago as high ground over which the welcoming Lenape tribe hunted hilltop sweet fern, the viewshed’s aesthetics are altered by periodic slump blocking, during which fragile soils fall away, carrying away forests and the tree branches framing the famous view.
According to Paul Boyd, chair of the Environmental Commission of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, developers propose three 20-story apartment towers between the central Mt. Mitchill viewpoint and the Atlantic. The resulting environmental disturbance makes the viewshed susceptible to further slump blocking, which would effectively substitute newly built balconies and rails for the tree branches through which the Lenape viewed the sea.