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September 22, 2006


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PSP, I don't recall expressing a preference for Chalet. I believe it was the preference of DFG to have at least one reserve where it had large holdings and Chalet was it. As I recall, ranked on its merits Mohawk scored higher, but the process was always going to be about getting outcomes the partners and the public could live with.

As for Mt. Washington, I know that area extremely well and while it is true that we advocate for the places we know more strongly than those with which we are less familiar, I've spent a good deal of time in the northern Berkshire forests you mentioned and am quite partial to the Florida/Charlemont area in particular.

In Mt. Washington's case, if the goal is to find places where there can be as much as 15,000 acres of forest managed for ecological reasons rather than for timber, then here is one of the best places to accomplish this using only state protected lands where there is currently no forestry taking place and hasn't been for many years and TNC lands. Figure there are over 8,000 acres in Bash Bish and Mt. Washington Forests and Mt. Everett and Jug End Reservations. Add to that the 5,000 acres of Taconic State Park over in NY that are under no-cut management, 1,500 acres in CT and upwards of 3,000 of TNC lands and there would be more than enough land to achieve this outcome. For that reason, I would be concerned to see the state portion of the reserved forest reduced significantly.

Mt. Washington also has 1/3 of Massachusetts recognized old growth stands, very close to the same amount as in Charlemont, Monroe, and Mohawk. Those small patches would be excellent places to conserve, preferably with large cores under natural disturbance regimes or natural dynamics silvaculture where appropriate and achievable. There are many places on Greylock too
steep to log sensitively that will be no-cut by default.

Regarding Blandford, et al., there were a number of large forest blocks in the southern and eastern Berkshires and west slopes of the pioneer valley that were evaluated. A smaller area around Otis and Blanford and Mt. Tekoa were each considered for large reserves and may still have significant smaller reserves designated. Given that even the "large reserves" that have been designated are in some cases only a few 2,000 acres, the only difference between some of the remaining 50,000 acres of small reserves and these places is the desire to eventually add protected land in no-cut status adjacent to the large reserves. There will likely be a public comment period when the smaller reserves are proposed and I'll post information here when that happens.

Recall too that 80% of all state forest lands will not be designated as reserves and some portion of them will see increased forestry activity. How those lands are managed is at the crux of the matter.

Thanks for the comments.


How much of your preference for Washington and Chalet arises from your location?

I would think the old growth in Charlemont, Florida and Monroe would be the first place to protect. Maybe because of where I used to live, I see it as vastly more important than the touristy taconic range because of the old growth and the sparse population. Also, the state owned land in the Mohawk and Savoy State Forests must be considered with the surrounding land currently protected by New England Power going up into Vermont.

Greylock, on the other hand, has been repeatedly logged, isn't all that big, and is surrounded by people. It has been quite awhile, but I remember CCC white pine dominating.

Do you know to what extent did they looked at land protected by the Hartford and Springfield MDC's (with Westfield's water lands in between) in Blanford, Granville and Hartland, as well as the Granville State forest?

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