Moore told The Eagle-Tribune that he recently responded to several resident complaints about the tree cutting in an effort to clear up what he called common misconceptions about the work.
“The current harvest at Winnekenni Park was never planned or advertised as a thinning,’’ Moore said. “It was planned and permitted as a salvage involving the removal of the hemlock population on the east side of the lake.”
Moore said the problem with this species is that it is infested, not diseased, with an insect called the hemlock woolly adelgid and that it will kill these trees over a range of four to 15 years.
“Our consultant advised us that we were past the mid-point of that range and rapidly declining,” Moore said, noting the salvage operation is a proactive approach.
Moore, a member of the city’s Forest Management Committee, said there is significant oversight associated with the project, which he said is being monitored by the city’s consultant, the Commonwealth’s Service Forester, and several people at the local level.
Gonios said he was invited by Mayor James Fiorentini to be one of those people, but that he declined due to physical problems with his knees that require the use of a cane and limit his mobility on foot.
“I wanted to go into the woods and watch them, but I can’t,” Gonios said.
Moore said that some people have commented that the city isn’t being paid enough for the hemlock. Moore said hemlock is “not a high value tree” and that according to last quarter’s Stumpage report, hemlock was selling for $20 to $40 per 1,000 board feet.
“We are receiving $35,” Moore said.
Moore said another misconception is that Hopkinton Forestry cut down 90 percent of the trees over 150 acres.
“The east side of the lake is only 100 acres,” Moore said. “The plan only proposes work in 50 of those acres and we likely won’t work in all of those, as we make adjustments along the way.”