Poland Forest Board approves new use policy
By J.T. WHITEHOUSE
POLAND — The Poland Municipal Forest board of directors on Tuesday approved a new four-point policy regarding the use of the area for recreation or other events.
People using the facility must obtain a permit and sign a waiver for uses other than personal recreation. A second point prevents any organization from charging an admission fee for any event at the forest.
The third policy involves the prevention of registration for anyone using the forest for hiking or other recreation, the exception being registration for shelters or pavilions. The final point approved involved any waiver for events must come from the forest board.
Board member Robert Elias said the new rules — in essence — keep the forest free for all to use.
“Village council needs to know what is happening in the forest, so we need these rules,” Elias said.
Dr. Ian Renne voted no, while board members Elias, James Brammer, Mark Thompson and Chris Graff voted for the proposed policy.
“I want to be clear that these policies are not singling out any one person,” Graff said noting that no group could charge or deny others the use of the facility.
On a different issue, resident Lauren Schroeder addressed the board speaking against those who routinely harvest firewood from fallen trees in the forest and given away on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“So what’s the harm? “I just feel we shouldn’t be cutting firewood from the forest trees,” Schroeder said. “This would be laudatory from a wood lot, but the Poland Municipal Forest is much more than a wood lot. The Forest is a special place, an island of wildness in a sea of urban development. It is a place for relaxation, mental renewal, inspiration, and fostering understanding, appreciation, affection, and the vital dependence of humans and natural systems.”
He told the board that harvesting wood is wrong on several levels. He said it violates the doctrine that the forest should be kept in its natural state.
“Deadwood is an integral part of the forest,” Schroeder said, regarding the nutrients it puts back to aid in regeneration. He also mentioned other plants that have been harvested there.
“The large, brightly colored mushroom Chicken of the Woods provides a spectacular splash of color in the autumn forest,” Schroeder said in presenting a photo he took of one of the mushrooms, then a photo after someone had removed it.