The Hamilton Conservation Authority expects to begin logging pine plantations in four locations early in the new year as part of a provincial tax-incentive program to encourage the regrowth of hardwood forests lost to human settlement.
Mike Stone, manager of watershed planning services, said contractor Moggie Valley Timber Inc. will thin a total of about 40 hectares of coniferous trees by Westfield Heritage Village, in the Dundas Valley and at Valens and Mount Albion conservation areas.
Moggie has already thinned a 48-hectare pine plantation at Christie Lake Conservation Area over the past two years by cutting down every third row of trees.
The managed-forest program allows the authority to tap a provincial incentive providing a 75 per cent break on its municipal tax bill, saving about $48,000 per year.
"(Many people will) only find out come winter when they show up for a walk on their favourite trail and they hear the saws or they see something.”
Stone said Moggie will begin at plantations at Valens and Westfield, and potentially move on to the Dundas Valley and Mount Albion later this winter if conditions are favourable.
If not, work will resume next year, he said.
Stone said a recent open house on the harvest only drew half a dozen people, so he won’t be surprised if others call the authority once the tree cutting begins.
“Not everybody that walks in the Dundas Valley or at Valens would necessarily be looking in the papers for an open house or be paying attention to our website,” he said.
“They’ll only find out come winter when they show up for a walk on their favourite trail and they hear the saws or they see something.”
Stone said the Westfield harvest will cover about 15 hectares of plantation to the south and west of the village, one “fairly well-removed” from its pioneer attraction.
Slightly more than 13 hectares will be thinned at Valens on the northeast side of the lake, which is less used than other areas of the park, he said.
Work in the Dundas Valley will log seven hectares in three tracts behind the authority’s Woodend headquarters on Mineral Springs Road in Ancaster, while one three-hectare stand at Mount Albion will be harvested.
In all, 999 cords – or 3,620 cubic metres – of red, white and Scots pine, spruce and cedar have been marked for removal by a consultant guiding the harvest plan.