Mother Nature does not always "cooperate" in keeping our trails in shape for our purposes. Ever increasing traffic also puts a strain on trail systems, and it takes a lot of hard work to maintain them. If you're out on your favorite trails, and you come across someone using or carrying tools, thank them for their efforts. Even better yet, lend a hand.
They will appreciate it!
Always remember ...
" You can't Enjoy It if it Isn't There! "
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LOGGING ?!?!?!?
Yes, you heard right. The Town of Vestal has investigated a proposal to log Jones Park. I guess the wood chips hit the fan after I posted a note on the trail forum about the proposed logging. Posted on Binghamton MTB too. Apparently, this reporter Tom Wilber noses around there from time to time. I don't know anything about him, but he sure got hold of that story in a hurry.  Less than 24 hours later, it hits the Press Online, and then the next day appears on the front page of the Binghamton Press. Slow nooz day in Bingo? Well... I guess that's what reporters do, eh?
So, the logging genie is out of the bottle. Think you know the story from reading the papers? You don't have a clue. There's hardly anything even approaching accurate out there right now. Not in the article or after it. Suffice it to say that this has been on the table for quite a while, and was quite a bit closer to happening than anyone realizes. Repre$entative government at it$ fine$t.
Actually, I shouldn't be that hard on anyone. Don't believe what you are hearing now that the secret is out. This was a done deal. "But how could they just go and do this without public input?" Honestly, I don't think they have a clue that anyone would even care.
That's right. I think the Town is acting on the assumption that Jones is more or less nothing to no one. They really do not have any idea how many people go there and have come to love the park. "Why would anyone care since no one goes there?" If you've been to the park in the last week since the little Dog & Pony show (11/1/07) put on by a couple of political hopefuls for Town office, you know that the secret little bit of Heaven is secret no more.
Praise be, we even have the Sierra Club involved. Great. I don't know their representative that got his face in the papers, but I'm going stick my neck out, take a guess, and say I don't want to. Yeh, they say that the Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend, but I don't work that way. I've seen their kind of "Forest Management." We've all seen it in the last few years. It's called California, and it is on fire. Maybe I'm wrong, but it's not much of a stretch to tar anyone else with that same brush. They just might have collectively earned it.
No, Jones Park does not need protesters. They are dorks looking to create meaning in their lives. Save that energy for looking in the mirror and making your own life better. Or, heaven forbid, grab a shovel and help maintain a trail now and then. It will help more people than your empty sloganeering.
Nope, Jones doesn't need them at all.
What Jones needs is Lovers. People who go there. People who breathe there, listen there, smell there. People who knock its soil from their boots before they get in the car.  People who lay a towel over the seat to keep it dry or clean because they have EXPERIENCED the Park. People who have seen the Great Horned & Hoot Owls there, who've felt the eery whoosh of one of these great creatures as it floats by  - blocking out the light through the trees with massive wings - in near silence. The Black Bears (I've seen 4 at once), the Turkey Vultures, the Porcupines, the Fishers (yes... Fishers. Look them up!). The multitudinous Fungi, the rare ferns,... and the wonderful and varied hardwood species that give them all shelter.
My friend Ken - whom I've met there numerous  times over the past years - just this weekend showed me a fern species that he had never seen in 30+ years of hunting and photographing plant species. Rare indeed, my friend. I wonder if the loggers would spare it... even if they had a clue it existed there?
If you are one of those people, just keep it up. Further, let someone know. Write the Town a letter. Don't foam at the mouth about how man always destroys everything and that we are all so evil. Simply tell them how much you love the natural beauty of the Park. That is the best thing you can do.
Is logging bad? Unfortunately, most times it is. Yeh... the Town could use that money, but I'm afraid they'd just waste it. It's a fat sum to us, but not that much in the larger scheme, and don't believe the numbers you've heard. They're low-balling you. I'd like to speak to the fellow that was there this weekend who wanted to see Jones so he could know what his property used to look like.
My friend Frank (a Park frequenter & lover) talked to a fellow who possesses some 300 acres of his own that he had "selectively logged" some time ago. Despite all the usual assurances,  I gather he has never gotten over the pain of seeing his land violated so. I gather he was not at all happy with the result, and felt it added nothing of value to his land, even if it did to his pocket. Funny how hindsight is.
Speaking of hindsight, we've got one chance in our lifetimes to have such a beautiful, natural place. Yes, Jones has been logged many times in the past hundreds of years. There were even saw mills on the property, if you did not know. Yet, it would take a few weeks to undo what has taken 75-100 years to recreate.
Yes, one chance. That chance is now.
Beyond all of its other fine qualities, Jones Park has one thing that is exceptionally rare these days when you are speaking of Parks and state Forests;
A nearly unbroken forest canopy.
Visit virtually any other wooded area that is open to the public, and you will experience the main byproduct of selectively logged or thinned woodlands, like Chenango Valley State Park, Oakley Corners or Jenksville State Forests, and the like. You can tell exactly where the Wizards of Smart have allowed the public harvest of trees to occur, because those areas are invariably over run with weeds, prickers, and other garbage undergrowth.
That is what happens when you let the light shine on the forest floor.
Those who know what is best for us claim that this promotes diversity in the forest, which is important for balance in nature. That sounds like it is coming from someone who hasn't the slightest clue what goes on in nature. Mother is the best judge of what she needs, and she has been providing for herself and the inhabitants of her house for eons. It is the folly of man to think that he knows better than Mother does, and the ultimate conceit of those that seek to guide her for her own good. They are fools.
It is 6 years on from when I wrote the original piece in the double colums. No logging yet, but it is in the budget. Don't let them tell you it will be carried out with utmost care and scrutiny. Those telling you this have likely never set foot in the park,
and wouldn't know an axe from their ___ in any event.
If the park were logged in such a way as to maintain it's essential character, I don't think it could be. Bottom line is, if it is logged in such a way that it is not DESTROYED, the loggers wouldn't even bother. remember, they are not there for the forest.
They are there to MAKE MONEY. the Town is right behind them!
Let the forest be. Let it fall, let it burn, let it live and die and live again, but let it be.
Still, in 2013... Mother knows best.