Spring at Castle Northampton

Posted: March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized







The Mayor and his court at Castle Northampton are celebrating the
first day of Spring by lowering the icy drawbridge just enough to let
in those who agree with their policies.

Northampton City Hall looks a bit like some misplaced castle so it
should be of little surprise that some of its priorities are misplaced
as well. Take the presentation of the city’s position on caring for
the woodlands surrounding the drinking water supply being offered to
the good people of Northampton by the City Council this first day of
Spring. As far as we can tell from out here beyond the gates, only
those agreeable to the court will be speaking at the event and, we are
told, comments from the masses will be limited to just three minutes
apiece. Presumably the presentations will be much longer. We guess
this is what passes for democracy within the castle gates. Since we
are not residents of Northampton we leave issues of free speech and
democracy to our friends who dwell there.

However, given the short public notice of this event and given that no
real space was provided for alternative views on the city’s position
and given that personal attacks seem to have been made in the media
toward the individual who first raised concerns about the watershed by
his honor the Mayor and some in his court, we are instead focusing on
the next  Enviro Show, this coming Tuesday, March 25 at 6pm. to
present some of the alternative views that will not be voiced in any
detail on the first day of Spring.

Happy Spring & stay warm!

  1. Below is an attack letter written by a staff member of Franklin Land Trust (FLT), intended to publicly defame a private citizen working on protecting public lands. Please question FLT and ask why they are attacking citizen activists? This letter was submitted to the Northampton City Council as the official position of FLT. I am outraged that public funding and grant money is being used by FLT to smear and attack private citizens. Please do something about this. – Glen

    From: Wendy Sweetser Ferris [mailto:wferris@franklinlandtrust.org]
    Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:28 PM
    To: snaser@ttor.org
    Subject: FW: ACTION REQUEST: Commercial Logging in Northampton’s Publicly Owned Water Supply Protection Forests
    Hi Sally,
    Thanks for forwarding this inquiry. Attached is an official letter from Northampton DPW to Chris Matera. The city and the forester they are working with did a great job putting together photos with explanatory captions about the project that are available here: http://www.northamptonma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2251. The short answer is that this project has been done expertly and will have benefits for the water supply and wildlife of Northampton. Matera is opposed to forestry of any kind, and is known for taking inflammatory and distorted photos to generate a public controversy.

    Without getting into all of the details and inflated claims that Matera makes, the lands being managed are public water supply that have a lot of trees subject to pests and disease (hemlock wooly adelgid and red pine scale especially). Weak trees pose a hazard in particular to water quality, as they are much more likely to get blown over, thereby exposing their root ball, washing soil into the reservoir, and silting the water supply. Removing those trees helps the remaining trees grow stronger, which are then more resilient in the face of other disburbances like ice storms or microbursts. The opening in the canopy also allows much more sunlight to penetrate the forest floor, creating a boon in vegetation that birds and other wildlife thrive on.

    This is a very simplified explanation, but the photos and Forest Stewardship Plan on the city’s website do a great job of explaining the science behind these decisions. I know it’s counter-intuitive for most people that cutting trees is good for our environment but in this case, on land that has been cut and managed for centuries, it’s the truth.

    Lastly, the firewood, timber, and pulpwood from the project are going to mills in Williamsburg, Whately, NY, and VT, in addition to Canada. Apparently, the only market for red pine is in Canada. Personally, I would much rather see trees cut in our local forests where they are subject to considerable regulation and oversight, and where they support local jobs, than see exotic wood imported from Russia, China, and South America where the safety and environmental conditions are horrendous. I think stopping logging on local lands and exporting our issues with it overseas to be much more hypocritical.

    Feel free to contact me with any questions and I’ll do my best to address them.

    Wendy Sweetser Ferris
    Director of Community Outreach
    Franklin Land Trust
    Massachusetts Woodlands Institute
    PO Box 450
    Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

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