Letter to Conway Conservation Commision

7/30/2011

Dear Conservation Commission Member,

I recently went for a bushwhack hike in Conway. I started in the Town Forest hardwood section, which was selectively cut recently. This was after spending about an hour cleaning up the landing area, which was become a popular spot for teenage parties and subsequent littering. As I walked through the Town Forest, right near the Conway State Forest line, I was struck by the difference in the 2 areas. The CSF was clear of underbrush, slash (1), with stumps from previous logging deteriorating and little hemlock saplings growing up on them.

The Town Forest, on the other hand, was very difficult to walk through due to masses of brambles and slash everywhere. Fresh stumps littered the landscape. I eventually went into the CSF because of the tough goings and better look and feel of the CSF. I recalled times where I bushwhacked through old growth section of forest in Savoy. Even more than the CSF, the forest is very open with huge, majestic trees dominating the landscape. Soon the CSF could look like the Town Forest if the DCR designation is not changed. They say the forest recovers but it only recovers to be logged again. Ceasing logging operations will allow us to see an forest only managed by nature and not man.

It became very clear to me that we have the opportunity right now to create old growth forest in Conway for the people of Conway and our visitors. We have a huge and wonderful forest in our back yard. Much of it is open to logging. But we have the chance to create a small part of it (1700 acres of some 13000 acres) as a very special forest.

The DCR’s computer models take into account the proximity to non-Conway sawmills, easy access for logging trucks on scenic Cricket Hill Road, potential benefits to the Northampton water supply (though creating reserves also helps watershed protection according the DCR document but not the computer models.) But their models, while acknowledging the ecological importance of the CSF, do not take into account the whole forest and surrounding wetlands and the continued impact of logging on Cricket Hill Road and Conway residents.

I hope you will join me in creating a very special forest in Conway and permanently protecting a small piece of this forest forever regardless of political winds, changing forestry personnel, and fluctuating demand for forest products.

Sincerely,

John Heffernan

(1) I realize that if you do logging, there are ecological benefits to leaving slash piles. Also, you do see some mountain laurel patches in the CSF.

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