By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Northborough – Recently, residents have reported that a large number of trees have been cut down in the Mt. Pisgah Conservation Area in Northborough. It is a mystery as to who is doing the cutting and for what reason.
Conservation agent Mia McDonald said in a recent email, “On March 23, one of the conservation commissioners who live nearby reported a large amount of tree cutting in the Mt. Pisgah Conservation Area. Another commissioner that lives near the area also reported cutting of a few trees on the south overlook a couple days prior. Staff walked onto the property and observed approximately 30 trees cut on town owned land, and approximately 500 trees cut on land owned and managed by MassWildlife (Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.)”
She noted that the trees were all white pine and were located off trail. They were cut two to three feet off the ground with stumps left in place. The felled trees were lying next to their stumps.
“The majority of the cutting is on state land. This was reported to the Mass Wildlife DCR (Department of Conservation & Recreation) Stewardship Coordinator on March 23. Their office visited the site later that week,” McDonald explained.
She also shared that town staff has visited the area several times over the past few weeks. They did not see any evidence of additional cutting nor heard the sound of chainsaws.
“The Northborough Conservation Commission has placed the cutting and the long-term management of the conservation area on their next meeting agenda,” she remarked.
“I am also staff for the Northborough Trails Committee. I checked with two of their head volunteers in late March and they confirmed that no one on the committee did this cutting. They only clear wood that has fallen or is about to fall onto the trail,” she added.
McDonald also noted that another issue that has been ongoing in the same area for the past few years is the creation of new trails. Not only are these trails overlapping and confusing, but they are illicit as well.
“From the Howard Ridge Trail looking east into the gorge below, it is obvious that someone has created a looping course,” she reflected.
While the situation remains a mystery, McDonald is conducting outreach to the community through email, social media and on the Trails Committee page on the town website. For more information, visit: https://www.town.northborough.ma.us/trails-committee/bulletins/it-illegal-cut-vegetation-alter-terrain-or-create-trails.
Meanwhile, McDonald said that signs will be posted on kiosks and other locations throughout the Mt. Pisgah Conservation Area.
She has also issued a plea for any reports of illicit activity to be directed to her office at the Northborough Conservation Commission at 508-393-5015 or [email protected].
Photos/Northborough Conservation Commission