There is a Town Forest Committee. Peter Shattuck is the chairman. I forwarded your email to Peter and I am copying Peter on my response to you.
Peter also responds to emergency calls in town, so he has had a very busy day with multiple calls, so I knew he would be tied up and unable to answer you immediately and I didn't want to leave you hanging.
Yes, I have seen the Town Forest and the project is not complete, other than the logging. There is still work to be done. Once the loggers completed their work (the actual cutting), Gary Gouldrup, the Consulting Forester, walked the site with Peter and I so we could see the site and Peter could identify what else the Town Forest Committee needed to focus on. Peter still has work to do to clear trails, clean fire roads, clean drainage ways and remove the tire dump. The logging company was not expected to do this work.
The Town Forest Committee started to do work in the forest this past fall by addressing the cleanup of the picnic area on River Road. Stumps were exposed that could cause damage to vehicles if they were to enter the picnic area. Peter had the stumps ground and then the access road and parking for the picnic area graded. They installed three new handicapped-accessible picnic tables, which required mounting devices to be sure someone didn't walk off with them.
I am including a little history for those on the email distribution who may be unaware of the history of Pepperell's Town Forest.
Pepperell's Town Forest was purchased in 1925. At that time, the Town Forest was an open field, as was most of Pepperell. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offered free white pine seedlings to any community who purchased over 100 acres of land for a town forest and Pepperell took advantage of this. Most communities in Massachusetts have always managed their town forests.
Pepperell received a grant in 2012 for the preparation of a Forest Stewardship Plan, which the Town Forest Committee, working with Gary Gouldrup, used to identify goals for good forest management. These goals included a selective cut of the Town Forest. This cut not only helped to open fire roads and address other goals but it also brought in revenue to be used for future management of the property.
The Nashoba Conservation Trust, which owns Keyes Farm and Linkel Woods, marked the trails with the TOP trail signs. The Nashoba Conservation Trust received permission from the Town Forest Committee to place TOP trail signs in the Town Forest and the Trust has already spoken with Peter Shattuck about work to repair/recreate the trail that comes from Keyes Farm, past the tire dump to Elm Street because it is a connection with Linkel Woods.
The logging project may be a temporary inconvenience for those using the trails, but there are plans to address this. Please contact Peter to let him know your availability to help with trail work and whether NEMBA members are also interested in helping out.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions but please be sure to direct any Town Forest concerns/suggestions to Peter.
Town of Pepperell