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WPA ,The Wonalancet Preservation Association, is very concerned about the Forest Service plan to Harvest 6,000,000 board feet of commercial forest products from the mountains you see here, and adjacent areas. We are asking the Forest Service to cancel or reconfigure the logging plan before logging begins as early as this Summer.

Because we feel the Forest Service Management Plan to be seriously flawed,  WPA has joined with other groups, like the Sierra Club, in an effort to mobilize public support to change or stop this short-sighted Management Plan. This planned harvest not only diminishes the hiking experience for the public, but is counter-productive according to Climate scientists' current recommendations on Forest management. This harvesting is destructive and dangerous for the many other reasons summarized below.

What you can do

We encourage everyone who enjoys these public lands to review the information below and contact their Senators and Representitives and bring these issues to their attention. Congress is responsible for oversight of executive agencies like the U.S. Forest Service. Congressional oversight is not only a Constitutional check and balance, but also an opportunity for Federal agencies to receive input about the effects of their decisions on local communities across the country. Of course, our Congressional delegation needs to hear from us if they are going to be effective overseers. So please contact your Senators and Representative to let them know how you feel about logging in this mature forest.

The Forest Service Plan

The U.S. Forest Service, as part of its “Sandwich Range Vegetation Management Plan”, proposes to conduct a major commercial logging operation within the Sandwich Range, utilizing the Ferncroft, Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Israel trailheads. Various forms of harvest, including clear cutting and whole tree removal will occur on 648 acres. These operations will take place along or adjacent to at least eight hiking trails and several skiing trails. An additional 300 acres would be subject to prescribed fire. According to the plan “most activities would occur over a 5- to 10-year period.

Facts you should know

Preservation of Mature Forest:

In 2022, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14072 calling for the protection of old-growth and mature forests on federal public lands like the White Mountain National Forest. Forest Service staff say they have not yet received guidance regarding this executive order, so it is not being incorporated into the proposed logging. We believe this is short-sighted: any action undertaken in the Sandwich Range should be consistent with the executive order to protect and preserve America’s mature forests, which excel at removing carbon from the atmosphere, support biodiversity, and enhance water quality for downstream communities.

Protection of Trails, Recreation and the Recreational Experience:

The Forest Service acknowledges what we all know: the project area has very high recreational use and value. But the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) says almost nothing about the impact of the proposed logging action on hiking trails in the Sandwich Range, saying it will be addressed in a separate report, which has not yet been released to the public. The proposed logging would take place along or very near at least four trails in the Ferncroft area, four trails in the Mt. Chocorua area, and in the Guinea Hill area near Mt. Israel. Forest Service proposes “buffers” along these trails of just 33 to 66 feet—close enough for trail users to have a front-row view of clear cuts. The Draft EA also fails to address the impacts of noise, trail closures, truck traffic, parking availability, etc., for recreational users of the forest.

Climate Change and Carbon:

The Draft EA states the carbon effects of this project will be negligible and inconsequential. That claim is both unconvincing and unsubstantiated. For example, it is suggested that cutting will significantly affect only the above-ground storage of carbon. This is demonstrably inaccurate. Most of the trees and shrubs in our forests – including oaks, beeches, birches and all the conifers – are ectomycorrhizal, meaning their roots are symbiotic with fungi that live on the photosynthetic products of the plants in exchange for providing them with nutrients, especially otherwise unavailable nitrogen. When the trees are cut, the ectomycorrhizal fungi, which comprise a substantial part of all soil carbon, die with profound consequences for the soil biota and structure, including carbon pools. More broadly, shouldn’t the Forest Service, in all its branches, practice forest management that actively seeks to increase long-term carbon sequestration? This is especially appropriate for an agency like the US Forest Service noted for setting goals with a very long time horizon. We ask that this plan for the Sandwich Range include measures to increase forest carbon sequestration.

Financial Motivations / Lack of Local Benefit:

The Draft EA states one priority of the planned logging operations is the private commercial harvest of 6 million board feet of forest products, with revenues helping fund Forest Service activities. These financial considerations are not necessarily in line with the Forest Service’s other stated goals of preserving the health and integrity of the forest for its many uses and users. The Forest Service has touted, for example, the removal of diseased beech; but it is unlikely that Forest Service will accomplish its goal of producing 6 million board feet (nor will private loggers find it profitable to log) without also cutting large volumes of perfectly healthy mature trees.

Consideration of Alternatives:

Environmental Assessments usually include several possible action alternatives, but this one does not. The Forest Service is operating from an obsolete forest plan, in which forests are maintained for the purpose of continuing commercial harvest. The Forest Service should consider meaningful, good-faith alternatives to commercial logging, especially in light of the executive order regarding mature forests, but also new science and new ecologically-informed thinking around the preservation and maintenance of mature forests for carbon reduction, climate goals, and recreation.

Our State and Federal Senators and Representatives

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Washington, DC Office: 506 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-2841
Senator Shaheen:

Senator Maggie Hassan

Washington, DC Office: 330 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C.20510
Phone: 202-224-3324
Senator Hassan:

Representative Ann McLane Kuster

(2cd NH Congressional district – Western & Northern NH, including part of Wonalancet
2201 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5206
Representative Kuster:

Representative Chris Pappas

(1 st NH Congressional district – Eastern NH, including part of Wonalancet)
452 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5456
Representative Pappas:

On the Forest Service website there is much more information, including the complete Draft of their Plan
Down-load the slides from the Standing Trees presentation

Standing Trees, is a non-profit advocacy organization for living forests   Here

See a video presentation

Hosted by WPA , with Zack Porter of Standing Trees, and Jerry Curran of The New Hampshiore Sierra Club  Here