Tree-cutting on town land yields $275,000

WARRENSBURG While not composed of apple or pear trees, a public watershed forest is proving to be a fruit-bearing resource as town government is receiving income from a summer-long town timber harvest project on public lands. Two town-owned parcels located at the Alden Ave and Harrington Hill watershed property have been selectively logged this year, as a third waits in the wings for improved market conditions. The watershed property is composed of four tracts totaling over 600 acres of public forest. Three of the Alden Ave Watershed tracts parcels No. 2, 3, and 4 have been currently subcontracted for selective logging. Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said that the estimated total revenue from trees cut from the three tracts exceeds $275,000. The 216 acre tract #2 has produced $114,166 in revenue via a subcontracted third party, Hollow Logging of Hadley. The revenue represents the sale of an estimated 627 cords of pine and an additional 22 cords of hardwood. Combined with the 24 acre Tract No. 3, which is composed of an estimated 209 cords of pine and 91 cords of hardwood, the town has already seen checks totaling $200,298. The task of logging tracts No. 3 and No. 4 have been subcontracted to Silver Saw Logging of Whitehall. Under advice from the consultants at Lake George Forestry, who were responsible for the initial assessment of the value and health of the timber on the property, the town has decided to not log the 320-acre tract No. 4 until market conditions are more favorable, Geraghty said Monday. According to Lake George Forestry owner Chris Gearwar, the state of maturity played a crucial role in selecting which property and which trees therein to harvest. Many of the pines were over-mature so the time to harvest them was now, Gearwar said Thursday. In this case better overall forest health will also result in an increased property value as well. Gearwar said that the assessment was not only based on revenue considerations, as appropriate property management and overall forest health were also primary. The trees we selected constituted a harvest not a thinning, Gearwar said. Addressing concerns of individuals who reside near the watershed property, Geraghty said that the act of harvesting timber does not necessarily indicate that the land will be sold in the near future. However, he would not completely rule out the idea. The property is a viable revenue generator for the town, Geraghty said. We would obviously conduct a study and hold a public hearing before considering a possible sale.

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