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Is preservation an illusion?

Erin O'Connor

Staff Writer

AGAWAM Notices were sent out to citizens living around the Robinson State Park area from the Department of Conservation and Recreation concerning logging operations at the park.

"In line with the Division Policy, legislation (Chapter 592 of the Acts of 1982) passed in December 1982, amending section 42, Chapter 132 of the General laws, this notice if being sent at least ten days prior to the commencement of the cutting to all abutters within two hundred feet of said sale area. This notice is only for the purpose of informing you of said sale."

Citizens receiving the letters have made comments about their unhappiness with the situation.

"I am totally against this (the logging) there is too much value in the terrain. It isn't right the park should first be left a park," said Kathy Breuniger to Reminder Publications.

Controversy over the last few months has erupted over plans in that the State will cut trees on 87.6 acres of the State Park near James Street and the other 46.9 acres near the State Park's entrance on North Street.

"Many of the trees marked are on the edges of wetlands," said Breuniger, "When cut you start major erosion problems on areas that are already having problems and that are so close to urban areas," she said.

State officials said in May that the reason for the original inquiry in the forest was the finding of a shoestring fungus said to be weakening the red pine. Friends say that other trees without the fungus are marked for cutting.

Questions into the cutting circulated in the group and a walk between a member of the Friends of Robinson State Park; Steven Rossi with Chief Forester for Massachusetts James DiMaio extracted information about state numbers pertaining to Massachusetts wood supply.

"There is no paper manufacturing in Massachusetts, no project laws for sustainable forest management, sustainable diversity and how Massachusetts contributes in sustainable use of wood products and bi-products," Di Maio said to Reminder Publications on July 11.

DiMaio then referenced that for more information on this subject to review, "The Illusion of Preservation; A Global Environmental Argument for the Local Production of Natural Resources" put out by Harvard University in 2002.

The report, close to 20 pages in length, states in one part,

"Thus, although citizens of affluent countries may imagine that preservationist domestic policies are conserving resources and protecting nature, heavy consumption rates necessitate resource extraction elsewhere and often times under weak environmental oversight. A major consequence of this "illusion of natural resource preservation" is greater global environmental degradation then would arise if consumption were reduced and a larger portion of production was shared by affluent countries. Clearly, environmental policy needs to consider the global distribution and consequences of natural resources extraction."

The logging in Robinson has a start date in November but could begin anytime now that abutters have been informed.

In Chicopee Memorial State Park and Chester State Forest logging has been done within the last few years leaving entrances to the forest barren and tree stumps lining the forest floor.

"Robinson has the potential to be an old growth forest in a few years if remained untouched said Breuniger," Mother Nature is doing a fine job, the dying trees can become habitat for other animals within the forest."