You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Haverhill

Hemlocks thinned at Winnekenni Park Conservation Area

Bob Moore of Haverhill and his two Jack Russell terriers enjoyed Winnekenni Park on a spring day.

Lisa Poole for The Boston Globe/File 2013

Bob Moore of Haverhill and his two Jack Russell terriers enjoyed Winnekenni Park on a spring day.

At Haverhill’s popular Winnekenni Park Conservation Area, the plan is to improve the forest by thinning the timber.

Last week, workers began a four-week harvest focused on the hemlocks east of Kenoza Lake. When it’s finished, approximately 40 percent of the tall evergreens in a 50-acre area will be gone.

Continue reading below

“Seeing the pine trees left behind, they stuck out that much more,” said Rob Moore, the city’s Environmental Health Technician, after the first day of cutting.

The harvesting is part of a city forest management plan, completed in 2013, and hemlocks were targeted because that species is infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid. As the insects feed, needles drop, branches wither, and the trees eventually die.

The management plan was developed for better stewardship of a valuable city resource, said Moore, and “the infestation triggered the need to get [the hemlock] out of there,” noting that the hemlocks might begin falling onto recreational trails.

Mayor James Fiorentini said that the plan eventually will create more open views from inside and outside the park.

“This is a prime jewel of a forest, and we want people to enjoy it for generations and generations to come,” said Fiorentini. “We’re going to open up some vistas that used to be there. Old-timers will recall when they used to be able to see Winnekenni Castle from the road. Now you can’t, because of invasive species. We’re hoping we can trim some trees to show the castle as it was years ago.”

‘This is a program to improve the forest. That’s what it is.’

Quote Icon

People are sensitive to trees, said Fiorentini, who has planted an average of 75 per year in his 10-plus years as mayor. As part of developing the management plan for Winnekenni Park and the abutting Plug Pond Conservation Area, 380 forested acres in all, the city asked Mass. Audubon to conduct a wildlife habitat analysis of the city forests, and held public walks seeking input from residents.

Getting the public to understand and support the plan was important, Moore said.

“The whole thought of cutting down trees just seems counterintuitive to folks,” he said. “But our forestry consultant [Gary Gouldrup of New England Forestry Consultants] has a great analogy. It’s like planting a garden full of carrots. If you don’t weed some out, you’re going to have a short, and not a particularly fruitful, harvest of carrots. If you really want a good healthy crop, you need to do some of that pruning now and then.”

“We’re not clear-cutting, and not selling the wood to make money,” Fiorentini said. “This is a program to improve the forest. That’s what it is.”

The city’s $5,200 cost for the forest management plan consultant was reimbursed through a state Department of Conservation and Recreation stewardship program. The tree work is being done by Hopkinton Forestry & Land Clearing Inc., of Henniker, N.H., which agreed to buy the lumber for approximately $11,000. The proceeeds will go to the city’s open space management fund.

The harvesting area will reopen for passive recreational activities once the work is completed.

David Rattigan may be reached at DRattigan.Globe@gmail.
com.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.