EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 11, 2014

May 17 forum to focus on tree-clearing

The Andover Conservation Commission is holding a special meeting next weekend to explain a tree-clearing program it wants to implement in several of the town’s forests.

The so-called “Healthy Forests Project” is an effort to evaluate 600 acres of conservation land encompassing Fish Brook North, Wood Hill–Bald Hill and the Virginia Hammond Reservations. The goal of the Healthy Forests Project is to increase the health and biodiversity of these properties through sustainable forestry and land management practices tailored for each property, according to a press release issued by the group.

The private group Trustees of Reservations has undertaken similar operations in North Andover and at the Ward Hill Reservation in Andover/North Andover. There, 15 acres of trees were cut down to create meadow ecosystems that attract a variety of bird life, like the bobolink.

The forum will be held Saturday, May 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the third floor of Memorial Hall Library.

At the forum, the commission will be unveiling proposed land management plans that have been prepared by a licensed consulting forester hired using a grant from the Massachusetts Forest Stewardship Program and secured by Kevin Porter of the Conservation Commission.

Gary Goldrup, a forester from New England Forestry Consultants, Inc., studied the properties involved and prepared a Forest Management Plan that will be unveiled at the forum.

Goldrup will attend to answer any questions, as will Laura Dooley, a managing forester from the state Bureau of Forestry, which will be overseeing the project on behalf of the state.

For more information email kjporter725@comcast.net or phone the Conservation Commission offices at 978-623-8311.

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