A FORWARDER is being used in the timber harvesting taking place by the Topsham solid waste facility on Townsend Way. The public is invited to attend a site walk of the operation at 9 a.m. Saturday.

A FORWARDER is being used in the timber harvesting taking place by the Topsham solid waste facility on Townsend Way. The public is invited to attend a site walk of the operation at 9 a.m. Saturday.

TOPSHAM

Topsham’s Tree Committee is inviting the public to a Saturday morning for a site walk of the ongoing timber harvest at the town’s solid waste facility on Townsend Way.

The site walk starts at 9 a.m. Forester Paul Larrivee will walk through a “cut” in progress, to show the public the process of sustainable timber harvest that follows the town’s forest management plan.

Those who plan to attend should come prepared to walk through the harvested area as well as surrounding forest.

Topsham Parks and Recreation Director Pam LeDuc said the town has a contract with Sappi North America, at no cost to the town. Sappi has a licensed forester using the town’s forestry plan to recommend and mark trees to be cut.

Sappi is contracting with harvesters to cut the trees, and someone else is removing the trees and taking them to the mills.

LeDuc stressed this is a selective cut; not a clear cut, and is being undertaken with the environment and habitat entirely in mind.

LeDuc said the town collects $7 per ton. Most loads are about 30 tons, and there could be an estimated 10 to 15 loads coming out of the cut site at the transfer station.

The operation started about two weeks ago, LeDuc said, and the town made approximately $450 in about a week. The money from the timber harvest is being set aside for the town’s forestry program.

The town received a Canopy Grant in 2010 which allowed it to develop forestry plans for the transfer station as well as for the Foreside Recreation Fields. Once this timber harvest is complete, town-owned land on West Merrill Road needs to be addressed, and then the town expects to move to the trees is has by the recreation fields along White Street next year.

LeDuc said folks who come Saturday will be able to see an uncut area, an area that has been cut, and an area that in the process of being cut, so they can get a sense of the entire process.

Participants can go to the solid waste facility and follow the signs. The walk will start by the ponds. Townsend Way is located off Foreside Road.

LeDuc hopes to capture some video of the site walk to post on the town’s TV station.

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