Massachusetts: October Mountain State Forest protection & restoration efforts

BECKET — A local group is working to preserve an area of October
Mountain State Forest in hopes of protecting it as an ecological and
economical boon the area. A coalition of local residents, businesses
and government officials are working to have the area surrounding
Buckley Dunton Lake made a nature preserve, officially submitting a
proposal to the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Forest
Stewardship Council last week. “It adds a jewel to the already studded
crown of the Berkshire’s natural and outdoor resources,” said Carl
Rosenstein, a Becket resident who is spearheading the preserve
campaign, during a phone interview from New York.

Buckley Dunton is
located in the southeast corner of October Mountain State Forest with
the Appalachian National Scenic Trail running just west of it. It
serves as a watershed for the Westfield, Farmington and Housatonic
rivers. The area is used for hiking, hunting, fishing, kayaking and
wildlife viewing, with organizations like the Massachusetts Audubon
Society — which wrote a letter of support for the proposal to the DCR
— and Canyon Ranch often bringing groups to use the Lake. Rosenstein
said it was important to maintain the area for the purpose of
preserving its natural beauty and supporting the eco-tourism and
second-home industry of Berkshire County. “For me it’s personal, of
course, but it’s not just a (not in my backyard) issue because
literally thousands of people use the lake every year,” Rosenstein
said. While the area may not fit into the natural criteria of a large
or small preserve, the land may fall into a newly created category,
according to Rick Sullivan, DCR commissioner. Sullivan said the DCR,
under the advisement of the Forest Stewardship Council, will begin a
process in 2009 of evaluating how they manage state-controlled land
and is considering creating a special category for areas that have a
ecological or recreational value that should be maintained. “There has
begun to be a discussion about if there needs to be a third category
that wouldn’t have active sustainable forestry,” said Sullivan.
Forestry of the area has been an issue for several years, as concerned
residents fought the DCR’s decision to auction off the land’s timber
rights more than two years ago. A settlement was eventually reached in
which the total tree removal was reduced and the residents agreed to
pay the logger for any lost income. The current push for a Buckley
Dunton preserve would eliminate all logging unless for ecological or
safety reasons.

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

Leave a comment

Your comment