Most of the snow has melted and the silence of Winter is now replaced with bird song and the robust chorus of amphibian mating calls. Spring is also presenting itself throughout the woods. Ground covers are some of the first to greet us, reappearing as the snow melts away. Looking as though pressed between the pages of a book, fronds of ferns emerge, scattered across the forest floor.
Krister Raasoch, David Weisel, Tom Duston, John Hudachek and Friends of Pisgah (FOP) trails chief John Herrick explored the FOP land referred to as the "Dort property" between Pisgah Park and Route 63 in Chesterfield. The FOP Council recently voted to fund the construction of a lean-to shelter on this land to be used by Pisgah Park and Wantastiquet-Monadnock Trail hikers. See our Facebook picture for a similar shelter. Several excellent spots were found that we felt suitable.
The next day, Sunday, December 9, John Herrick and John Hudachek met Kim Nilsen at the Dort property to review our findings from the previous day. The three of us decided the best spot to build the shelter would be on FOP property below the Hubbard Hill vista on a level site with water close by. We also envision locating a composting latrine nearby. Access from the Park would be from the corner of the Davis Hill trail that runs through the FOP Dort property. A mini shelter was also discussed to be placed on FOP land at the Davis Hill trail west vista.
Friends of Pisgah trails chief John Herrick, Krister Raasoch, John Hudachek, Wendy Jacobs and Tucker started work on the trail from Davis Hill to our proposed shelter on FOP land below Hubbard Hill. We then cut the trees where we intend to build the lean-to in the spring before breaking for lunch. After lunch we cut trees where the road will be going up from Route 63 towards the shelter. We finished work about 3:00 pm.
Many people have been apprised of the value of early successional growth that results from commercial timber harvests. The following from Tom Wessels is another perspective that is in support of the ecosystem that an older forest provides:
There has been lots of research at both the Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA and the Hubbard Brook Research Station in NH regarding how older forests sequester carbon to a far greater degree than younger forests. I am sure there is also good research on the relationship between forest disturbance and increase in invasive exotics although I haven't delved into that. The key to countering there argument is that whenever we manage for certain species, like early successional wildlife, we also are managing in ways that are detrimental to other late successional species. Also what makes Pisgah so unique at a larger landscape-scale is exactly the large array of older forests it holds that is very different from the rest of Cheshire County.
Tom Wessels is a terrestrial ecologist and a professor at Antioch University New England in the Department of Environmental Studies, where he founded a master's program in conservation biology. He is the author of three books and is an active environmentalist.
FOP Council Attending: Kathy Thatcher, Gary Montgomery, Bob Smith, John Hudachek, John Herrick, John Summers, Matt Edson, Norma Reppucci, Laurel Powell, James Nikiforakis, Kim Nilsen
: There were 32 members of the FOP, including Council members, present.
The 2012 Annual FOP meeting at the Hinsdale Millstream Community Center was called to order at 7:05 by President Kathy Thatcher.
Click on a attachment below to view either
- Pisgah to Keene (Wantastiquet-Monadnock Trail: Keene Connector) or
- Pisgah to Wantastiquet (Wantastiquet-Monadnock Greenway & Trail Western Section Including: Ann Stokes & Daniels Mountain Trails) Trail Map: