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Fine-tuning Sturbridge's town forestry plan

Concerns raised over tree cutting

Conservation Agent Erin Jacque led associated members of the Conservation Commission Joe Kowalski and Calvin Montigny on a walking tour of the section of the Leadmine Mountain conservation land to assess the current state of the forest and address concerns raised about the land’s stewardship plan, which includes controlled forest cutting. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
August 23, 2010
STURBRIDGE — The forest cutting plan for 83 acres of the nearly 900-acre Leadmine Mountain conservancy has not been approved yet.

From the looks of the forest, it won't be any time soon.

Conservation Agent Erin Jacque and associate members of the Conservation Commission Joe Kowalski — an arborist with a background as a forester — and Calvin Montigny — a professional landscaper — toured the section of forest off Leadmine Road on Aug. 20. They were there to assess the current condition of the woods versus the perceived result of the cutting and to develop a plan for addressing concerns raised by both the Commission and abutters to the property.

The walk through was prompted by a letter to Jacque from MassWildlife Land Agent Phil Truesdell on Thursday, July 22, saying the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife cannot endorse the plan because of a clerical error resulting in inconsistent percentages of trees to be removed in the plan, and concern over the method through which some of the forest was marked in accordance with the tentative plan.

The intention of the plan is to remove smaller trees in favor of large red oak, sugar maple, white pine, hemlock and cherry trees. By thinning out the under-story and leaving a healthy canopy, the forest ecology will regenerate in a more healthy state than exists now.

At a meeting of the Conservation Commission in July, forester John Clarke of Rocky Mountain Wood Company who has been working with the town on the plan since last year, said 40-50 percent of the vegetation in the 83-acre section will be removed as part of the plan.

A glance at the forest in question though, suggests a potentially different outcome.

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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