Updates as of 4/20/21:
- Dominicus Hanson Pines Forest Improvement Harvest is scheduled to start Monday, April 26 at 7 am.
- The harvesting should take 3 days.
- The logging company will be positioning its equipment as early as today.
- They will be accessing the forest through Dominicus Court.
- During the days of the harvest, park patrons may need to use alternative trails to pass through the Dominicus Hanson Pines.
- Information on this project can be found on the Recreation Department’s website and Facebook page. Visit www.RochesterRec.com for more information.
The City of Rochester has contracted Moreno Forestry to provide professional forestry services to conduct a forest improvement harvest for Dominicus Hanson Park, a 30-acre, city-owned, forested tract lying between the Cocheco River and the abandoned railroad adjacent to Spaulding High School. This project is a continuation of the forest management plan that has been developed over the past several years.
Dominicus Hanson Park, sometimes referred to as Hanson Pines, was gifted to the city in 1915 and the trust deed is clear on the way the land should be used and protected.
“In accordance with the trust deed, the forest is to be sustained as a pure-pine forest,” said Rob Pallas, City of Rochester Trustee of the Trust member. “We are taking the opportunity to harvest non-pine and trees in decay. If this is not done periodically, it could be overrun with hardwoods.”
Hanson approved of the presence of some nut-bearing trees, for the sake of wildlife, but was firm that pine trees are principal to the makeup of the forest.
Charles Moreno, owner of Moreno Forestry, states that the cost of professional forestry services is estimated at $5,300±, including time and materials, with a ceiling cost of $6,000.
“The first phase of the forest harvest project involves our preparation of the job, including selection and marking of trees for harvest,” said Charles Moreno, Consulting Forester and Project Manager. “This critical task is the application of the silvicultural prescriptions described in the Hanson Pines Forest Management Plan. We will keep a tally of the trees marked and estimate the timber volume for harvest, as this will have a salvage value. We will also plan the access logistics for the project and prepare harvest permits.”
Peter Nourse, Director of City Services, is confident in Moreno’s plan and calls it “a step in the right direction in the preservation of the forest.”
“Moreno is uniquely qualified to perform this work since he is the forester with the best knowledge of the forest,” said Nourse. “He established the Forest Management Plan in 2014 and conducted the previous harvest in the late 1980s.”
Forecasting the financial outcome of the harvest itself is difficult at this stage. It is not yet clear whether the harvest operation will generate positive net income or incur a net cost. Fees and credits depend on the condition of the trees planned for harvest.
Moreno states that in some cases “the value of harvested trees cover all or more of the logging services.”
“Hanson Pines is widely enjoyed by the community — it is a city park with an exceptional forest,” Moreno continued. “The forest needs maintenance, and important needs have been already attended to invasive plant control and hazard tree removal. For the future, the natural regeneration of the forest is critical today, and the planned harvest will be an important step in that direction.”
Part of the clean-up effort has been to keep the forest safe for trail walkers and to create clean areas for outdoor classrooms. The plan also enhances the efforts of the Riverwalk Committee.
“The Riverwalk Committee is working to enhance Hanson Pines with outdoor learning spaces, among several other plans,” said Jennifer Marsh, Economic Development and Riverwalk Committee member. “We’re excited about the preservation and maintenance of the forest. It benefits a variety of independent efforts to make the park more easily enjoyed by residents and visitors to the city.”
To learn more about Hanson Pines and the ongoing forestry efforts, contact Trustee member Rob Pallas at (603) 335-1974.