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Cutting on Greenville Road to preserve view

MASON — The panoramic view from Greenville Road is one of the most scenic spots in Mason, giving a view for miles to both the east and the north. But in the last few years, pine tree growth has slowly been reducing the view. The Conservation Commission plans to reclaim it by cutting back the growth.

Conservation Commission member Liz Fletcher said in an interview Wednesday that the land is part of a 500 acre parcel that was gifted to the town in the will of resident Bronson Potter when he passed away in 2004.

Last year, a neighbor to the property pointed out to the members of the Conservation Commission that the view from the road had slowly been disappearing, thanks to tree growth. The commission decided it was time to address the issue and see if the view could be restored.

“We decided we should try to keep that view open. One of the crown jewels of the property is that big area of fields on the ridge of Greenville Road,” Fletcher said. “You can see almost all the way to Boston.”

The area is also home to pine tree growth, which has been inching up to reduce that view, Fletcher noted. Potter had been in contact with the town forester, Bill Downs, prior to his death to begin discussion to remove the growth, but Potter passed away before plans could be finalized. The Conservation Commission decided to carry out the plans and remove the 17 years worth of pine and other growth.

The Conservation Commission contacted Downs a year ago to mark which trees to remove to best restore the view. Originally, Downs marked about 70,000 board-length of wood to be removed. The Conservation Commission contacted neighboring landowners to do a walk of the property and based on their concerns adjusted the cutting to identify some individual hardwood trees of outstanding character to preserve, as well as leaving a forest buffer between the fields and a hiking trail that runs adjacent to the fields. This reduced the harvest to about 60,000 board-lengths.

The Conservation Commission did consider the option of removing only the tall pines which were the main view issue, said Fletcher, but the profit from the wood would not have been enough to pay for the services of the forester, said Fletcher. It was more economical to do away with a majority of the growth, as well as preserving the view for a longer period of time.

The income from the harvest is estimated to be enough to pay for the cutting, as well as some additional profit, Fletcher said. The Conservation Commission plans to use any funds left over to put towards the cost of putting an easement on the Mason Quarry.

The cutting has been scheduled to take place at some point in the coming year. Residents who would like to view the extent of the cutting may do so at the site. Trees that are planned to be removed are noted with a blue stripe of paint, and trees designated to be preserved have a yellow marker.

The Conservation Commission meets the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Mann House.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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