State to delay logging project


State to delay logging project
Thursday, January 13, 2005

GRANBY - State Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Katherine Abbott announced yesterday her department will delay a controversial logging project planned for 63 acres of the Mount Holyoke Range State Park in Granby until it completes additional consultation and planning in concert with the public.

"The forest management goals of the project are fundamentally sound and in time it should proceed," Abbott stated in a press release. "But an open public process on the means to reach these goals before proceeding is essential. Delaying the majority of the harvesting implementation is warranted to address issues and concerns that have arisen."

The 63-acre timber sale within the 4,000-acre state park in Amherst, will be delayed for one to two years by extending the present timber harvesting contract.

One of the opponents to the cutting plan, James Seltzer of the preservation group Save the Mountain, said he was "thrilled" to get the news.

"The public was really outraged the state was going in logging in an area that has so much hiking and biking. The state listened to our concerns," Seltzer said. "What more can we want from government then to listen to its citizens and include us in its planning process? This is how democracy should work."

State Chief Forester James DiMaio held several meetings in the area with people concerned about the project at which Seltzer and other opponents of the cutting were in attendance.

However, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation will proceed with road erosion control, parking area improvements, and establishment of a small timber harvesting demonstration area, according to the release. Forestry officials have said the cutting is needed for the health of the woods to provide more room for healthy trees and prevent disease and insect infestation.

"Our original plan was to leave numerous very large, high quality, white pine trees and begin regeneration of a future forest by removing the smaller, lower quality trees which were competing for nutrients, sunlight and moisture," Abbott said. "A number of trees have already died and the live crowns on many trees show signs of stress from competing trees."

The department plans to do the following at the site off Batchelor Street:

About two to four acres will be harvested according to the original plan as a demonstration area.

Harvested material on the site will be removed.

The road and road erosion control measures will be completed. Weather permitting, water bars will be installed along the road and skid trails, and both will be temporarily closed.

The parking area will be graded, improved, and lined with large rocks to prohibit unauthorized uses in the area.

The department will work with user groups and neighbors to leave additional trees along the trails and road system and will reassess the tree marking procedures adjacent to wetlands and riparian areas, which may reduce cutting in those areas.

Informant: Deane T. Rimerman


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Januar 2005

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