Chipping away at Pisgah State Park
Editor of the Reformer:
Since yesterday afternoon (Sept. 7), large trucks have passed by my house on their way to fill up with wood chips from yet another logging operation in Pisgah State Park. This cut is the fourth such commercial timber harvest in Pisgah since 2008. Why, many might ask, are they allowed to do commercial logging in a state park?
Well, the answer, we are told by the state of New Hampshire, is that Pisgah State Park is not a park but a state reservation, managed by the Division of Forests and Lands. According to the state, the only park land in Pisgah is a small tract of land under and around buildings, one built by Friends of Pisgah, with the support of many volunteers, as a Visitor Center, the other, a transplanted barn, to document the history of Pisgah. According to the state's definition of a "Park," there must be human infrastructure to merit such a title. And yet, from the very beginning, the creation of what was to become Pisgah State Park was maintaining the essence of a wilderness experience, limiting any future development that would detract from a place "where nature, not the hand of man is clearly dominant" (A quote from the state's first attempt at a management plan back in the 1980s).
This is not in opposition to all logging, but where the state is logging. The property was purchased with funds specifically for the creation of a state park in the southwest region of the state, not a state reservation, to be used as a "working forest" that allows for recreation. The present management plan is very clear that the state has the right to continue to put our park land out to bid, in perpetuity. "Manage recreational use in a manner that does not unreasonably adversely impact the use of the property for production of forest products," states the 2011 Management Plan for Pisgah State Park. The management of the property is at the discretion of the Commissioner of Department of Resources and Economic Development.
For more information on the creation of and our concerns for, Pisgah State Park, please go to our website, pisgahdefenders.org. You will also find a number of links there, one of which is to the Management Plan. Read for yourself to see what the future holds for Pisgah, unless we change direction.
Kathy Thatcher, Friends of Pisgah, Sept. 8