Brookfield trustees on June 3 approved advertising for bids for a small-scale logging operation at Brookfield Township Community Park.
The project has two parts: cutting trees in the areas around the playground and concession/rest room building, and removing trees from the woods.
Consultant James T. Elze said May 6 that no logger is likely going to take on the work in the recreational area and probably would hire a tree service to do that. The hope is that the income that can be garnered by logging in the woods will offset the cost of the cutting in the recreational areas, and that the township will end up not having to pay anything for the project.
Only about 10 trees an acre in the 10-acre woods would be cut down, said Elze, of LZ Forestree Consulting, Salem.
The cutting in the recreational areas is designed to remove dying and dead trees, those that have shed branches and pose a risk to people enjoying those areas.
The focus in the wooded areas is to maintain and promote the health of the forest: removing dead, dying and clustered trees, and opening up the canopy to benefit smaller trees.
Elze said the forest really shows no scars from the last time trees were taken about 10 years ago, and noted that a good crop of tulip poplars have seeded since then.
“If we ignore those poplar trees that are coming up all over the place out in that woods for, say, another 10 years – they aren’t very tolerant of shade – they’re probably going to dwindle and die off waiting for their chance to take off,” Elze said.
“While they’re in there, we’ll try to improve the trail system,” he added. “Right now, there’s trails in there, but they can be better. There’s one trail that’s real sloppy and wet. We’re gonna try and get that area stabilized for the wetness that’s there and try to get another trail established.”
Based on the kind of trees that would be logged, the amount of likely timber to be harvested – about 21,000 board feet – and the market price, Elze said he expects the timber will sell for about $7,000, which is down from $9,000 10 years ago, when about 35,000 board feet was harvested.
If the trustees award a contract, it will be up to Elze to maintain the integrity of the project and keep the loggers acting within the wishes of the trustees.
“It’s my job to act on your behalf, to make sure we get good loggers in there,” he said. “I maintain a list of loggers that I know I can trust, and I’ll oversee the operation.”
Sealed bids will be opened at 9 a.m. July 22 at the township administration building, 6844 Strimbu Drive.