Michigan: Mt. Pleasant Public Schools on 6 primary arguments in favor of harmful logging

When it comes to harmful logging and making excuses for why it’s
acceptable, I’m always curious, always in want to know more. So today an
article comes through that sums up all those excuses so clearly. Below
you will find and article that best illustrates six primary arguments
for harmful logging: 1) It’s maintaining / sustaining the forest, 2)
too shady for tree planting, 3) it’s not really a logging operation,
4) objective: homogeneous forest free of disease and weed trees. 5)
Economic benefits ($15,000) will be realized from loss of rare white
pine, 6) economic necessity requires these economic “benefits.”
–Editor, Forest Policy Research


Rocheleau, code enforcement officer for the city of Mt. Pleasant, was
concerned about what seemed to be logging activity that was occurring
on property owned by Mt. Pleasant Public Schools just east of Winn
Road adjacent to the park. “I was west of town near Deerfield Park by
the swinging bridge where there’s a memorial forest that’s owned by
Mt. Pleasant Public Schools,” Rocheleau said. “(It looked like) they
were logging on school property. “Several trees were down, and several
were marked for harvesting.” Rocheleau said it looked as if they were
cutting the white pines, and that they were dropped on the trails. Joe
Pius, superintendent for Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, said the
operation was simply “tree management” or an effort to maintain the
forest by thinning for the continued growth of healthy trees. “We
worked with a forester,” Pius said. “It is a lot thinner, but the
purpose was to maintain and sustain the forest.

“We asked if we should
plant more trees, and the forester said there would not be enough
sunlight,” he said. Pius said that it was not a logging operation, and
that diseased trees and poplar was what was removed. “The school will
realize about $15,000 from the project where a portion will be used to
assist Deerfield Park,” Pius said. Pius said there is a building on
the property in need of a roof, and the funds from the lumber sale
will aid that project. The Mt. Pleasant Public Schools purchased the
nearly 70 acres of land from the state of Michigan in 1940, under the
Municipal Community Forest Act of 1931, Sue Ann Kopmeyer, director of
Isabella County Parks and Recreation Commission said.
http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2009/01/28/news/srv0000004582037.txt

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Deane RimermanJanuary 31st, 2009 at 4:10 pm

January visitors to the Mt. Pleasant school forest part of Deerfield Park, off Winn Road in Isabella County, may have been surprised to find a logging operation under way or recently suspended. Some may have been dismayed or even angered at the discovery.

First reactions like that are understandable, coming from park lovers who stumble upon such activities unexpectedly.

But in this case there is no good justification for either kind of sentiment to last.

Hard as it may be to swallow when looking at fresh machinery tracks, newly cut stumps and litter from the cutting, the logging job was done to protect the health and vitality of standing timber on the tract. That is what state certified and licensed forester Gary Long, of Merritt, Michigan, says.

Long is the professional hired by Mt. Pleasant Schools to oversee the logging work.

According to Long, the work was a long overdue commercial thinning to open up a stand of red pine trees planted on the tract more than 60 years ago. The usual cycle in a commercial red pine plantation calls for thinning about every 10 years.

The plantation trees had all but stopped growing with any vigor, Long said when contacted earlier this week.

This year’s cutting took about 40 percent of the standing red pine stock. It also included complete removal of diseased and dying or dead trees on one small parcel estimated at approximately a half acre, Long said. Some aspens (also called “popple”), and small white, Scotch and Austrian pines were cut during the operation, as “miscellaneous” trees removed for stand improvement.

Long reported that about 90 red pines trees taken during the thinning will become utility poles. Most of the remainder of usable red pines will become landscape timbers, fence posts and the like. Other species, unusable small trees, branches and treetops were chipped on the site and sold for fuel.

The entire operation was completed in about 10 days, Long said.

One of the inevitable things about the life of a forest is change, whether wrought by the hand of man or the forces of nature.

Anyone who has ever seen a forest devastated by natural forces – fire, wind, ice, for examples — knows the sight can be as distressing as that of a logging operation, and the destruction far more thorough than a well managed thinning.

If experience is any teacher, visitors to the school forest tract will see more sky and a lot less visible litter after the snow is gone. Sunlight on the forest floor will help heal residual scars from the logging. In a few short years the tract will seem like a familiar old friend once again, changed, maybe, but none the worse for it.

If there is legitimate scolding that can be leveled at the school district or its officials in this case, it stems from apparent lack of public notice that the cutting was planned, and the details of why, how and when it would be done.

Advance communication would have helped school forest and Deerfield Park fans, and the general public, avoid shocking surprises of the kind that too quickly can become hard feelings.

It usually is the case that public officials and public bodies have very good reasons for the decisions they make, even when those decisions become controversial.

Failure to adequately and confidently share those planned decisions and good reasons for them with the public often create far more of a hubbub than the circumstances really call for. The school forest logging in January is one of those cases.

Call it a lesson learned, we trust: http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2009/01/30/opinion/doc4982d9d5b7e54267285565.txt

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