Massachusetts Forest Products Industry on the Wane as New Hampshire Thrives
By Mike Leonard
On a recent trip to northern NH, I noted how forest industry is booming up there! I see log trucks everywhere! In Berlin I saw the beautiful new 75 MW biomass plant (which essentially replaced the old paper mills) and just north in the small town of Milan was the huge Milan Lumber Co. More new sawmills are being built, biomass plants are running straight out, and the wood pellet plant in Jaffrey is busy as hell! But the forests in NH are still growing faster than they are being cut while forestry there has greatly improved. Much of the credit goes to the powerful New Hampshire Timberland Owner’s Association (http://www.nhtoa.org/ ) which has great political clout in the state. Wildlife is also very abundant in NH. We saw families of loons and a bald eagle flew by us in spectacular Grafton Pond. Kayaking stunning Lake Umbagog, I saw a beautiful bald eagle with a young one in a tree.
However, all is not rosy in the Granite State. I saw some destructive wind “farms” in Plymouth (central NH – Groton Wind) and in northern NH (Granite Wind). But the people have risen up against Big Wind especially in the “Great Lakes” area of central NH so I don’t think we’ll see any more of those mountain top destroying and bird shredding monsters. Hopefully the eagles won’t get killed by any of those monstrosities and they will all be decommissioned in 10 years or so and sold for scrap.
Massachusetts could learn a lot from the Granite State but it won’t because anti-forestry reactionary forces are in control here. Except for little Pinetree Power, all the wood my operations produce goes to NH as do many other logging operations here. So MA is in effect a “wood basket” for NH industry. They get our wood and grow more jobs there while here our forest industry has died.
Mike Leonard, Consulting Forester
North Quabbin Forestry
35 Leighton Road
Petersham, MA 01366