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News ::
Day 5 of the Mt. Wachusett Tree Sit (english)
09 Aug 2003
Modified: 06:52:02 PM
One finds it hard to believe that people of goodwill, especially activists who work to prevent the destruction of The Commons and the environment in general, would stand-by and let this travesty take place.
treesitbanner.jpg
One finds it hard to believe that people of goodwill, especially activists who work to prevent the destruction of The Commons and the environment in general, would stand-by and let this travesty take place.
As day 5 of the Mt. Wachusett tree sit dawns many forest defenders might not be faulted for wondering just where all those progressives are when their planet needs them. The proposed Mt. Wachusett ski area expansion isn't just about saving 12+ acres of mature red oak woodland, its wildlife, and a critical buffer zone for the largest old-growth forest east of the Connecticut River; it's also all about privatization of public lands, supposedly a major concern of global justice advocates.

The wealthy Crowley family, operators of the Wachusett Mountain Associates (WMA)ski area located on the Commonwealth's Mt. Wachusett Reservation (does that mean it's reserved for the Crowleys to destroy?) are hooked-up with some of the state's major politicos. As such, they are the darlings of company papers like the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and area sycophants vying for crumbs from the Crowley plate. That kind of local power base perhaps explains why the Princeton Town Police Department functions as a private security force for WMA, treating opponents of the ski expansion with thug-like abuse. The Crowleys also own Adirondak and Polar Beverage companies, among other investments. The Mt. Wachusett Ski Area, being public land, is just another one of their cash cows and, seemingly, the Crowleys view it as their private playground. It is not.

Mt. Wachusett is one of the crown jewels in the ecological heritage of the citizens of Massachusett and New England as a whole. It's unique natural attributes and its historical significance make it a place deserving of preservation for future generations. The ever-expanding ski area is nothing short of a cancer on the face of Mt. Wachusett. It will continue to spread until the health and integrity of the mountain is completely destroyed. One finds it hard to believe that people of goodwill, especially activists who work to prevent the destruction of The Commons and the environment in general, would stand-by and let this travesty take place.

Help is needed now on Mt. Wachusett in the form of peaceful witness to the tree-sit. The police have prevented the tree-sitter's suppoters from having access to the sitters. With no witnesses, rogue cops or security can do as they please, perhaps endangering the lives of the tree-sitters. In addition, back-up support is needed in various forms, as well as outreach efforts to other potential supporters and calls to the media to cover this situation (media attention will also help to curtail police abuse). Please add your support to the effort.

TAKE ACTION: contact Mass Earth First! takeaction2001 (at) hotmail.com or call (978)273-7928
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WT&G Makes Good (english)
09 Aug 2003
Much to thiswriters surprise, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette followed-up their previous slanted story on the tree sit with a reasonable report. I will gladly eat my words if they continue to report thesituation on Mt. Wachusett fairly. Here's the report:

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Tree-sitters perched to protest ski plan

High-climbing activists seek to guard old growth "They're not speaking for
the environment'

Christina E. Sanchez
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

>

EarthFirst activist Leroy sits in a red oak tree yesterday at Wachusett
Mountain Ski Area. (T&G Staff//PAUL KAPTEYN)
>>Enlarge photo




PRINCETON- Through thunderstorms, fog and swarms of mosquitoes, Dandi and
Leroy have sat perched about 100 feet up in red oak trees.

The two EarthFirst activists, who declined to give last names, have been
living in the red oaks since Aug. 1 to protest Wachusett Mountain Ski Area's trail
expansion that will cut down 12.5 acres of forest.

Their protest is in response to the July 14 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial
Court's decision to allow the ski resort to proceed with the expansion, on hold
since 2001, when a Superior Court judge blocked the work. The Sierra Club, one
of the parties that brought the original suit, has asked the Supreme Judicial
Court to rehear the case.

EarthFirst said the decision will permit the ski resort to cut down red oaks
that protect 200-year-old, old-growth trees from damaging wind gusts and
erosion.

"I don't think it is right for public land to be used for the profit of a
private corporation. This land is really important. It's a watershed for the
largest remaining old-growth trees. It needs to be preserved for its own sake and
for future generations," Dandi, 21, from Central Massachusetts, said. "It's
the last remaining stand that is protecting the old-growth trees from gusting
winds and damage caused by the ski resort."

According to the EarthFirst media coordinator Jason, EarthFirst is a
nonviolent environmental movement that started in the early 1970s, and has no formal
membership or leadership.

Wachusett Mountain Associates, the company that runs the ski resort, said the
proposed expansion will not harm the old-growth forest.

David I. Crowley, general manager for the ski area, said the plans have been
approved by the state Department of Environmental Management and by the
secretary of environmental affairs.

"We're not a greedy corporation. We are a group of people that are generous
and care about the community. We're not as they (EarthFirst) call it, this
greedy family," Mr. Crowley said.

The expansion, as first proposed in 1993, involved cutting two new trails
from the summit. When old-growth trees were discovered in 1996 and 1997, the
expansion was scaled down, and plans for the summit trails abandoned.

In 1999, after a lengthy process of public hearings and environmental review,
the state approved a plan that calls for cutting up to 12.5 acres of forest,
construction of new ski trails and widening of existing trails, installation
of a ski lift and upgrades to the lodge and snowmaking equipment.

The Sierra Club then appealed the decision, leading ultimately to the Supreme
Judicial Court ruling that allows it to proceed.

Despite the court's ruling, Leroy, 26, from Maine, said the court system is
not behind the planned expansion. "Many judges have determined it is not legal
to cut here, but they just kept trying until they found a judge that liked
them," he said.

Dandi is critical of the Department of Environmental Management. "They're not
speaking for the Earth. They're not speaking for the environment. They're
speaking for profit and corporations, and they're not doing their job," she said.

Mr. Crowley said that, to date, no one from the ski area has confronted the
tree sitters. "We're ignoring them. They're trying to get publicity. If we have
them removed, they'll get what they want," Mr. Crowley said.

Dandi said they will remain in the trees for as long as they have to. "We're
going to win. There's no reason for us not to win. There's no way for them to
get us down, and we can outlast them here."

Jason said the group will not give up. "We're going to stay up there as long
as it's effective. There are many nonviolent civil disobedience tactics in our
tool box, and we're ready and prepared to use them," he said.

It is unclear how long Dandi and Leroy will have to camp out.

Mr. Crowley said he will not comment on when tree cutting might begin. He
said that Wachusett Mountain Associates has seen the plan through for nine years
and will succeed. "It's been nine years since we started this project. They
better have a lot of supplies," Mr. Crowley said.

"We will succeed. We have the law behind us. We have the government behind
us," he said. "They are breaking the law, and they're putting themselves in
danger."