I am aware that a number of my friends
and associates have asked that I be allowed to make a presentation
to the Technical Steering Committee of the Forest Futures Visioning
Process to share with committee members specific knowledge and
experience I have with Massachusetts forests. I would be most
pleased to do that. If a presentation by me is desired, I would
propose to discuss the following topics.
1. A criteria for identifying exceptional
Massachusetts forest sites for recognition and protection .
2. A review of the administrative apparatus
used by other states to identify, evaluate, nominate, select, and
protect exceptional forest sites.
3. A review of exceptional forest sites in
Massachusetts based on the criteria in #1 above.
4. A review of exceptional forest sites in
other states and how they compare with sites in Massachusetts .
I know that some of my friends had wanted me
to serve on the Technical Steering Committee, but I elected not to
make myself available for two primary reasons. The biggest one at
the time was my health. I was experiencing serious problems and
simply did not have the energy to devote to additional projects. I'm
happy to report that the health issues are favorably settled for the
time being. The other reason for not making myself available is that
I can be better utilized in another capacity. I've alluded to that
in previous emails.
As the co-founder and Executive Director of
the Eastern Native Tree Society (ENTS), I have behind me an
organization that has great research depth in areas that have not
been developed in other organizations within Massachusetts - even
the most prestigi ous academic and environmental ones . Given the
erudite status of Massachusetts academic institutions, this is a
bold assertion to make, but it can be backed up. Consequently, I
believe that my time is best utilized for the greater good when I am
working in the ENTS specialty areas. Others with good legal minds
will do a far better job of figuring out how best to protect valued
forest sites - once they know where the sites are and what makes
them valuable. In addition, i t is critically important to have
sufficient information about each site to enable a prioritization
of the sites . If choices must be made, let's make the right ones.
But t o be able to do this requires hig hly specialized knowledge
that accrues as much from one's passions as professional status. In
ENTS, there is no shortage of either. We understand how to evaluate
forest sites in a comparative manner when comparisons becomes
At the least, w e need a system in
Massachusetts as effective as what I observed in states like Indiana
and Ohio - states that are largely agricultural. Scarcity of
inspiring woodlands in those states served to motivate them to
achieve a higher level of forest cognizance. They successfully
combined historical, ecological, and aesthetic perspectives. As a
result , t hey now recognize and protect forest sites of exceptional
value through their implemented nature preserve programs .
T o establish a system of comparable efficacy
in Massachusetts, we need input from people experienced
at determining what makes forest sites sufficiently unique or
special to justify protection. We need people who have not only
thought through concepts of forest value along largely non-economic
lines, but people who spend the bulk of their time in the field
evaluating sites . Expertise in how to construct criteria for
evaluating forest sites along non-economic lines is what ENTS
specifically brings to the table in spades and that expertise ca n
be mad e available to the Committee for the asking.
As a final bit of information to illustrate my
point, I have just returned from an extended trip to the Rocky
Mountain West that includes a connection with the huge
San Juan National Forest in colorful Colorado. We will likely hold a
joint conference next year on western old growth forests: the
science, management and restoration, and values. Participants will
be ENTS and WNTS (Western Native Tree Society), the Forest Service,
the Bureau of Reclamation, and Fort Lewis College in Durango. I
think I can state confidently that t hese last three organizations
would not commit time to such a joint venture unless there was a
clear value to each participant. I'd like to think that t he basis
for t hat value was established during my visit.
I am ready to place the expertise of ENTS at
the disposal of the Steering Committee toward the agenda outlined
above . Bill, t he ball is now in your court.
President, Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Cofounder and Executive Director, Eastern Native Tree Society
Member, Western Native Tree Society