Clear Cut Logging in NH Park?

The state of New Hampshire has decided to allow clear cut logging in the state's biggest park, which is just a few miles from Massachusetts and Vermont. The state wants a private logging company to cut down the trees in 133 acres of the 13,361 acre Pisgah State Park. Pisgah is in the towns of Chesterfield, Hinsdale and Winchester.

There is still time for activists to try to persuade the state official who decided to log Pisgah to change his mind. The official is Ken Desmarais of the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development’s Division of Forests and Lands. Desmarais wants the logging to start in the summer of 2013. The governor and state legislature can stop the logging.

Forest Watch is a non-profit group based in the Valley. It has a web site at Chris Matera is a Forest Watch spokesman.

"It is tragic and unnecessary that New Hampshire is cutting the forests in its state parks," Matera told the Valley Post. "What is the point of a state park if citizens cannot go there knowing it will provide a refuge from commercial and industrial pressures?"

Logging on publicly owned land reduces the price that private forestland owners can get for their timber. This makes it more likely that private forestland owners will sell the land so the construction of "McMansions," Wal-Marts and other "development" can happen. In Vermont, almost all logging for timber is done without clear-cutting.

Glen Ayers lives in Leverett, Massachusetts, near Amherst. He is a member of Forest Watch. Ayers told the Valley Post that, in 2003, he 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.

Kathy Thatcher is president of Friends of Pisgah. She told the Keene Sentinel newspaper, "We don’t need to go to public lands for timber." Her group's web site is at Contact info for the group is at:

A map of land use in the Valley is at:

More information is available by calling Matera at (413) 341-3878 or e-mailing him at


These photos were taken last year at Pisgah. They show people relaxing and swimming. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "See full-size image." photos by Eesha Williams


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