HAVERHILL — Dan Marinos of Haverhill was riding through Winnekenni Park on his horse, Axle, yesterday when he got an expected surprise.
He met up with members of the city’s Forest Management Committee, who were discussing final restoration of park areas where trees were cut down this winter.
The massive cutting shocked members of the public who regularly visit the park. They have complained that too many trees were removed from the park, which has hundreds of acres.
Marinos was riding his horse on Dudley Porter Road, a dirt road that winds through the park, when he encountered city Environmental Health Technician Rob Moore.
“I love these trails,” Marinos told Moore. “They don’t get much better than this.”
Tree cutting and harvesting took place in the Winnekenni Park Conservation Area between February and March, as part of the city’s Forest Management Plan. Officials said the work is 75 percent complete and will resume next winter.
City officials said the work focused on the forest’s hemlock trees east of Kenoza Lake. This species of tree was substantially infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid — a tree-killing insect that feeds on hemlocks, causing needles to drop, branches to rot and even trees to die, officials said.
Yesterday, Moore along with fellow forest committee members Mark Sheehan and Jack Jackson, toured the areas that were harvested. They were joined by several residents who responded to the city’s invitation to learn about plans to restore the land.
Forest committee members said the city plans to reseed areas where trees were removed, as well as improve roads and trails for hikers.
Marinos told Moore that he has no complaint about Hopkinton Forestry & Land Clearing Inc. of Henniker, N.H., the company hired to remove the infested hemlock trees and other trees that were damaged or posed a safety risk.