I am a member of the NCTA, and have completed the 95 mile section of the NCT through the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in Pennsylvania. I also work for the Allegheny Defense Project, a non-profit forest protection organization. As many of you must know, the NCT in the ANF is a great trail, and has a lot of potential. However, many of us are appalled by the actions of the U.S. Forest Service here.
I just signed on to this NCT listserve, and I thought folks would like to know about the following. I originally posted this message to the Bulletin Board on the NCTA web site:
The Forest Service has numerous logging projects planned which would log right up to and across the North Country Trail in the ANF. As most of you probably know, this is in clear violation of the NCTA policy on timber harvesting near the trail, which asks that "No cutting be allowed within fifteen feet of the trail. This would allow a thirty foot wide corridor of uncut woodland to cross a harvest area." Allegheny Defense Project believes that an even more significant buffer than that is called for along the entire length of the NCT.
Probably the most egregious action planned by the Forest Service here in relation to the NCT is the proposed "Duck Sheriff" timber sale project in which there are three large cutting units proposed to log up to and across the trail. The Forest Service's proposed "Pierson," "Eagle Mills," and "East Side Project" timber sales also call for logging right up to the trail. The Forest Service's explanation for this logging across the NCT according to the Duck/Sheriff Draft EIS is to "provide an opportunity to demonstrate and interpret sound forest management practices." Not only is this idea patently inappropriate, it is a crock!
The ANF is one of the most heavily logged national forests in the National Forest System due mainly to the occurrence of high-value hardwood trees such as black cherry. Black cherry and other commercially valuable species on the ANF are not climax species, and their occurrence would eventually subside to natural low levels without an intense program of even-aged logging (clearcutting). The Forest Service and local timber industry does not want recreation to gain too much of a foothold on the ANF to the point where it is prioritized over timber (and oil & gas) production. To a large extent, that is what this logging up to and across the NCT is all about - showing "who's boss" on the ANF.
We are trying to stop all logging on the ANF within a two-mile wide corridor (one mile to either side of the trail) along the NCT. If you would like to help stop the logging along the NCT in the ANF, please contact ANF Supervisor John Palmer at P.O. Box 847, Warren, PA, 16365, or (814) 753-5150, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NCTA's numbers are growing rapidly, my belief is that we can start to throw some weight around a bit. Would the Forest Service log the Pacific Crest or Appalachian National Scenic Trails anymore? I don't think so. If you would like more information on the above mentioned timber sales, don't hesitate to contact me or anyone else here at the ADP. I can send you stuff snail mail, and I can also email photos of trees directly adjacent to the NCT in the ANF which are marked to be cut with spray paint. One photo depicts a tree in the Duck/Sheriff sale where the person doing the marking deliberately painted over the NCT trail marker on the tree as an 'in your face' message to hikers!
Thank you, and happy trails!
Allegheny Defense Project
P.O. Box 245
Clarion, PA 16214