VERNON - Environmentalists are getting a closer look at deforestation over a natural gas pipeline project in Vernon Township.

Members of the North Jersey Pipeline Walkers group say tens of thousands of trees were deliberately taken out over the past couple years to clear the way for a federally approved gas pipeline expansion.

The group says the area is now losing more trees to wind shears, which is destroying the habitat for forest dwellers.

"We have endangered species here," says Beverly Ann Budz. "We have red shoulder hawks, we have the bog turtle, we have the brown bats, the timber rattler. They all call this area home. The Wawayanda State Park is sacred to a lot of us. It's a big part of Vernon Township and we're very proud of it."

New Jersey Forestry Services has given two grants to reforest the area.