Activists Fight Northampton Logging

The city of Northampton is logging a city-owned forest. Photos of the logging are below. Mayor David Narkewicz is rejecting all requests from journalists who want to interview him about the logging, according to a woman who answered the phone in the mayor's office on March 11.

An environmental group is asking the public to contact the mayor and tell him to stop the logging. The group has a web site at and can be reached via Chris Matera at or by phone at (413) 341-3878.

More information about the situation in Northampton is at:

Environmentalists are concerned that logging trucks, tractors, and chainsaws may leak diesel, oil, and hydraulic fluid into the forest, which is above the Northampton drinking water supply. Trees reduce global warming.

According to, "Wilderness is a vital habitat for wildlife.... Without designated wilderness, it would be virtually impossible to ensure the protection of species. Wilderness is a haven from the pressures of our fast-paced society. It provides us with places where we can seek relief from the noise, haste and crowds that too often confine us. It is a place for us to enjoy with friends and families — strengthening our relationships and building lasting memories."

Moose, bears, bobcats, and many kinds of birds are among the wildlife in Massachusetts forests. All logging is banned in wilderness areas.

The mayor's office referred the Valley Post to this city web page about the 3,000 or so acres of forest in question:

The below photos were taken on March 3 by Northampton resident Chris Matera. He said he received an e-mail from a city lawyer threatening him with jail time and/or fines if he “trespasses on city-owned property again.” The forest where Matera took these photos is owned by the city.

In the past two weeks, about 35 people have contacted the mayor's office to oppose the logging, according to an article in the March 15 edition of the Hampshire Gazette newspaper. The article was written by a staff reporter.

Keeping government-owned forests as wilderness forces loggers to buy their own land to log, or pay private land owners for the right to log their land. This allows some landowners to keep their forestland rather than selling it to be turned into roads, parking lots, "McMansion" style vacation homes, Wal-Marts, and other kinds of so-called "development." Logging can be done sustainably, rather than by clear-cutting. New homes can be built by converting run-down, drafty single-family homes that are in and near existing downtowns into energy efficient, multi-family housing. In New York City, rich people live in apartment buildings.

To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image."


Keep it up

I'm glad someone is paying attention to this. I posted a reply to the mayor's Facebook posting on this, and forwarded the Matera link to my neighborhood association, and got zero response to either - rather depressing. The arguments are unconvincing that this is somehow good for the forest or the watershed; and the city has not responded to the allegation that the city is losing money on it.

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