Conservation Keeps Clean-Up Restrictions for Town Forest

The Conservation Commission reconsidered the guidelines it sets for volunteers working to clean up the Town Forest.

Kent Allen, lead volunteer for the clean-up project, had requested that a guideline requiring large coarse, woody debris (fallen tree trunks) with average diameters exceeding 8 inches remain in their present positions be amended to permit removal of any fallen trunks under 12 inches in diameter.

Allen has said his primary reason for cleaning up the Town Forest is to help other groups, like the Master Plan Implementation Committee, make plans for management of the property.

But the Conservation Commission agreed at its Nov. 17 meeting to keep the restriction in place, in addition to the guidelines limiting clean-up to 10 percent of the Town Forest; and requiring that woody debris cleared from the forest floor be stacked in piles to remain in the area between Pillsbury Road and the walking trail that parallels the road between the Town Common and the orchard, or in more remote areas of the Town Forest.

“Part of the idea of only completing 10 percent is to see how it turns out, and we can always expand the delineation later,” Commissioner Mike Speltz said.

Commissioner Deb Lievens additionally recommended they prohibit the use of wheel-mechanized equipment in the Town Forest.

Speltz noted the Town Council recently voted to send a warrant article to the voters to transfer management of the Town Forest from the Commission to the Town Manager.

 “We’re only talking about another four months before the Town will make a decision on this,” he said. “This is a very interim set of guidelines.”

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