CHESTERFIELD, N.H. - The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands plans to harvest timber on 132.7 acres of Pisgah State Park.
According to a letter sent from Regional Forester William T. Guinn to Chesterfield Board of Selectman Chairman Jon McKeon, the plan is in its early stages and is aimed at improving wildlife habitat.
Guinn wrote in the letter that the division - part of the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development - expects the harvest operation to be offered for public bidding in October and will begin during the summer or early fall of 2013.
"At that time you will be notified as to the timber volume sold and the successful bidder who will be responsible for the timber tax," Guinn wrote in the letter before mentioning that the harvesters will access the forest at both Winchester and Horseshoe roads.
Ken Desmarais, administrator of the Forest Management Bureau, said that New Hampshire purchased Pisgah in the 1-980s and it has since been left unmanaged due to a lack of personnel and resources. He said about three years were spent developing the management plan for the park.
But Kathy Thatcher, president of Friends of Pisgah Inc., said she and others are opposed to the amount of land that will be used - she stated that 6-4 percent of the park's property will be affected over time - and the work that will be done on Horse-shoe Road, where she said a lot of park users use a parking lot.
She added that she
She said members of the F-OP council are still scratching their heads about how New Hampshire can alter the land's use.
"I think when we go hiking or biking we're not interested in hiking or biking on a reservation. We go for the natural environment. ... The wilderness aspect is popular," she said. "In a perfect world, I think it would be great if we could leave Pisgah undisturbed and unfragmented."
Thatcher said she served as the F-OP representative to the technical team and as the public's representative to the Pisgah Management Plan Steering Committee. She said there is a need for wood products but that Pisgah is not the place to get them.
Desmarais said Pisgah takes up 1-3,361 acres and the area select-ed for harvest operations is part of the 3,677 categorized as Criteria 2, which means it must be harvested with uneven age management techniques that allows thestate to create openings up to one acre in size. The criteria level was decided with the help of the Pisgah Management Plan Technical Team.
He also said the harvesting, which will produce firewood and other products, will improve life for local wildlife. He said certain wildlife respond best to a habitat that is highly manipulated while others are better suited for land with a moderate disturbance level or no disturbance at all.
Desmarais said the operation will deliver moderate disturbance.
Some of the primary target species include the bluespotted salamander, wood turtle, American black duck and red-shouldered hawk. The secondary target species, Desmarais said, include the purple finch, Eastern towhee and Cooper's hawk.
With the operation, planned forthe southwestern part of the property, the state is expecting to produce more than 1,700 cords. A cord is defined as a unit of measurement 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2-311, ext. 277.