My first thought, oh my, what I have done?
The loggers had come, as planned, within one week of my response. And here they were with an enormous skidder that made the aging giant that my father had owned look like a toy. The tires were several inches taller than me, and though I’m a scant 5’2″, that still seems overly large for the task at hand.
The thing was armed with huge chains to enable it to scramble through mud. And, since this place had a several small non-jurisdictional wetlands, I knew it would be muddy. Just not as much as it turned out to be.

 

Of course, I’d also based my impact assessment on my 2014 logging effort – albeit on dry land – but which followed existing trails and left a few standing trees.
These guys leveled the place, all but for a clump of weakling cedar, and they ignored my road flagging.
No, we’ll put the log dump over there, the project manager told me. Right on top of the largest clump of Douglas spirea on the property.
In the end, I was left with a pile of about 52 logs (4 loads worth, and then some which, not amounting to a load, were just left behind for firewood), and a new swimming pool.
The timing was bad, really bad: the heaviest rains in a decade or more fell just after I asked them politely to leave far in advance of finishing what I had originally asked them to cut. I had planned to thin along the driveways, but after seeing the skidder damage, I figured if I still wanted the roads driveable I should quit while I was ahead.
It was a good call. After they left, we had several inches of rain, and even more a few weeks later. In between storms, I ventured out in my knee boots and almost didn’t return; only a stick and a piece of wood saved me from sinking up to my rear.
Why did I do this?
Money. I’ve hit the end of my savings. My father’s long-term care, and upgrades to the 40+ year-old house have tapped me out. I can’t live on rent alone anymore.
So, I shifted goals. I can log, earn money for a house fund, and recreate the lost area into a hard-wood forest. Three wins, but one loss.
A loss for biodiversity. I had made the mistake of exploring the grove of 62″ + dbh trees that even my father had never touched. There were fern nurseries on old rotten logs, mushrooms of various kinds (though I kept the damage away from the chantrelles), Douglas spirea, sedges, lots of miterwort (Tiarella), much of which I salvaged, and wild rose. All is now gone. I’ve a blank slate, but my heart still mourns the losses.

It is difficult to walk the line between preservation and conservation, management and simply leaving it alone. I’ve seen enough of the bad side of management to realize that leaving it alone is easier on my heart and conscience. Still, I thought I could endure the losses until I saw the soil damage.
Then I have to decide, is this to be a garden, a park, or a preserve? I love to garden, and outside of landscaped areas I want a park with trails and lots of natives. But which areas should just be left alone?
It is my Personal Jungle. There are no right or wrong answers, only the recognition of what salves my own heart.

Another round of logging, another search of the soul

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