James T. Elze stands in the middle of the woods at the back of Brookfield Township Community Park.
The certified forester holds an arm straight out and slowly turns in a circle.
“This one,” he says as his arm points to a towering tree.
“This one,” he adds as he rotates.
Seven times Elze identifies trees that he thinks could be cut down in this small section of forest.
Brookfield trustees asked Elze, of LZ Forestree Consulting, Salem, to examine the trees in the park to determine whether it would be worth it to bring in a logger to remove some.
“I think it’s time,” Elze said, estimating that seven trees on each of the park’s 10 acres could be cut.
It’s been about 10 years since the last cut in the park, said Elze, who consulted at that time, too.
Trustee Ron Haun walked Elze through the woods on March 5, but also into other areas of the park, paying particular attention to the picnic area behind the Jenny Junction playground and the concession stand building. The picnic area ground is too rough for some people to walk on and littered with fallen limbs, Haun said. He noted a fallen tree barely missed the concession stand. Looking at the tops of some of the other trees in the picnic area, he pointed out dead sections that probably also are in danger of falling.
Elze, a retired service forester with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said he would want to bring in ODNR Urban Forester Alan R. Siewert, who has expertise in examining less wooded areas.
Siewert has met with trustees before – most recently to discuss the trees on the green in Brookfield Center – and has offered to come back. Elze and Haun said they would contact Siewert.
The density and size of trees in the park’s forest would make it good for logging, Elze said. Yet, he would not want to remove every tree a logger would salivate over, he said. Some big trees should be left to anchor the forest, but others, particularly when you have two big trees next to each other, could be removed to allow smaller ones to fill out, Elze said.
Some calls would be easy, such as felling the ash trees that are being destroyed by the emerald ash borer, he said.
It’s a balancing act, because you have to allow cutting of enough trees to make it worth a logger’s time to move equipment to the site and get a good return on the lumber, Elze said. Yet the logging effort should not leave a mess, and the logger could assist the trustees in their desire to extend the walking trails in the forest, he said.
“I think it would look pretty good afterward,” Elze said.
The trustees have set a meeting with a forester for 8:30 am. April 9 at the park, 7291 Stewart Sharon Road.