Bath-area land trust uses timber harvest as demo project

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BATH — A local land trust’s harvesting of 63 acres of the Sewall Woods Preserve is serving as a demonstration forest project.

The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust is working with Barrie Brusila of Mid-Maine Forestry, who a created a management plan for the harvest with an eye toward sustainability, according to a March 30 KELT press release.

About every third tree is to be removed along most of the property. The project is meant to boost the health of the forest, improve the wildlife habitat, and show off practical forest stewardship to woodlot owners and visitors to the preserve.

The preserve will be closed during the work for up to six weeks this month and May, and could be open by Memorial Day weekend. Visit kennebecestuary.org/sewall-woods-demonstration-forest for more information and updates.

“In donating a large portion of the preserve’s property to KELT, William Sewall wished for the land to continue serving as managed forest, and the upcoming harvest will honor that wish,” according to the land trust. “In fact, Mr. Sewall was very active harvesting these woods in the past, but in recent years lack of management has led to areas of overcrowded and unhealthy trees.”

KELT received $7,500 from the Maine Forest Service Project Canopy program to help create the forest management plan, KELT Executive Director Carrie Kinne said April 6, adding that this is the land trust’s first harvest.

“Through this project, KELT is excited to finally realize Sewall Woods as a noteworthy demonstration forest where habitat protection, recreation and sustainable forestry not only coexist but are complimentary,” Kinne said. “We see this as establishing a realistic model for other landowners seeking to achieve a similar healthy balance on their lands.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust is conducting a six-week timber harvest at its Sewall Woods Preserve in Bath.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.