Forest ‘harvest tour’ Friday in Ashfield

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ASHFIELD — Do you want to learn how to cut timber on your property without causing environmental damage? Are you interested in creating a more diverse wildlife habitat on your land — or at least not disrupt wetlands and sensitive species?

The Massachusetts Forest Trust (MFT) and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is holding a series of “Harvest Tours” this winter, to show how landowners can cut trees while protecting the environment. Each tour will feature different types of harvesting equipment, to let landowners see a variety of options for having trees cut on their parcels.

The tour on Friday begins at 9 a.m. in the Ashfield Town Hall. MFT staff and DCR foresters will explain the harvesting process, the environmental requirements and safeguards property owners should take to protect both their woods and environment.

The second part of the tour includes a visit to a nearby property where a timber harvest is taking place. Participants will be able to see how the harvest is laid out, which trees are being cut and which are left to grow, and how streams and wetlands are protected from damage. The harvest is being done by a father and son team of loggers who are felling trees with chainsaws and bringing the wood out using a cable skidder — the most common equipment used on smaller logging operations in Franklin County, according to Greg Cox of Hawley.

This U.S. Department of Agriculture grant-funded program is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested, so that participants can be reached if the event has to be postponed because of heavy rain or snow. Those who go should dress for the weather and ground conditions. Also, they should be prepared to hike up to a mile in rough terrain. To register, call Cox at 413-339-5526.