Logging or Wilderness: Public Hearing Nov. 16

Members of a local environmental group are urging the public to attend a public hearing on November 16 near Springfield about whether Massachusetts state-owned forest land should be logged or kept as wilderness. Forest Watch members say people should speak out in favor of wilderness at the 6:30 p.m. meeting with representatives of Governor Deval Patrick at 380 Southampton Road in Westfield.

More than 50,000 acres of land surrounding the Quabbin Reservoir, near Amherst, are owned by the state and open to the public for hiking. The founder of an environmental group in Northampton says the state will probably allow private companies to do clear-cut logging on part of this state-owned land this winter. “We have been putting out reports and testifying before the legislature,” said Chris Matera of Massachusetts Forest Watch, an all-volunteer group. “It looks like that might not have worked. The next step will be rallies and protests.”

Glen Ayers lives in Leverett, near Amherst. He is a member of Forest Watch and is planning non-violent direct action if clear-cut logging starts on public lands around Quabbin.

In 2003, Ayers was among a group of activists who did “tree sits” to protest an expansion of the Mt. Wachusett ski area onto publicly owned old growth forest north of Worcester.

This kind of direct action to save forests has had some remarkable successes across the country. In the 1990s, thousands of people attended rallies in favor of saving the ancient Headwaters redwood forest in northern California from logging plans by Maxxam Corporation. Hundreds of people were arrested for non-violent, civil disobedience. In 1996, the federal government bought 7,500 acres to create the Headwaters Forest Preserve. Logging is forbidden in the reserve.

The Massachusetts Forest Watch web site www.MAforests.org includes photos of clear-cut logging in Massachusetts, of the type that the group's members say is likely to happen this winter on the public lands near Quabbin. More information is available by contacting Matera at christoforest@maforests.org or (413) 341-3878.

Details on the hearing are at www.mass.gov/dcr/news/2010/pr10-10-28.pdf

Comments

No compromise in defense of Mother Earth!

Given the horrendous damage done by clearcuts around the Quabbin, the filling-in of wetland, destruction of habitat & historic stonewalls, among other things, it's no surprise that people want to protest further trashing of public lands (O sorry, i forgot: Boston annexed the Quabbin from the people of Western Mass, maybe not so public).

Forest destroyers can expect to see the return of Mass Earth First! and their supporters should they deem it "necessary" to continue their trashing. Like they say: No compromise in defense of Mother Earth!

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