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News ::
12 Aug 2003
Modified: 18 Aug 2003
Two intrepid sitters remain from 80 to 100 feet up on platforms in the mature red oaks that help buffer the state's largest stand of old-growth forest from prevailing winds.
Princeton,MA - Mass Earth First!s tree-sit in the proposed Mt. Wachusett ski area expansion in central Massachusetts has reached the one week mark today. Two intrepid sitters remain from 80 to 100 feet up on platforms in the mature red oaks that help buffer the state's largest stand of old-growth forest from prevailing winds. Wachusett Mountain Associates (WMA), the front group for the wealthy and politically well-connected Crowley family plans to clear-cut the old-growth buffer zone for yet another expansion of their bogus ski operation located on public land.
But the concept of "public land" or The Commons doesn't register with the Crowleys or their friends in the former Department of Environmental Management as the ever-expanding ski area spreads across the Mt. Wachusett like a cancer. Such privatization schemes, turning public property over to the purveyors of the corporate bottom-line, are on the increase not only globally but in states like Massachusetts as well. Neo-conservative operations like the Pioneer Institute have instituted game plans to strip the Commonwealth of its wealth and laugh all the way to the bank. WMA is part of that problem.

As mainstream environmental groups like The Sierra Club await a decision on an 11th hour appeal to stop the expansion, Mass Earth First! and other forest defenders hope to continue holding on to the last line of defense against the destruction of the critical buffer zone. "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," says Panther, one of the group’s support team. Calls for support and a peaceful witness have gone out to forest activists and peace groups alike. Some activists have stepped forward and joined in the action, but more help is needed if the effort is to be sustained.

Mt. Wachusett is sacred land for the indigenous Nipmuc people, some of whom held ceremonies on the mountain in the recent past. A statement of support in defense of Mt. Wachusett from a Nipmuc spokesman was released recently. The history of Mt. Wachusett, a heritage of the Nipmucs and all citizens of the Commonwealth and New Englanders in general, are rich and diverse. Given the mountain’s ecological significance and its historical importance, many people are wondering why narrow special interests such as WMA are being allowed to destroy what little is left of Mt. Wachusett’s legacy.

Wachusett Update 8/14/03

-Yesterday There was a Monitoring Board and Wachusett Advisory Council meeting. The ski area was present. A local ecologist from a national environmental group found an area that was cut not to long ago. He was concerned because any cutting that happened on the mountain was illegal because of the injunction that was in place for the past couple of years.

He made it known that he found the cut about a week ago. The lawyer for the environmentalists sent a letter to the WMA’s lawyer to notify them. What ended up happening blew us all away. The ski area is trying to blame Earth First! for the cutting! I’m not joking. It is important to remember that in the past years, 27 illegally cut trails have been found. Skiers and snowboarders that wanted off trail extreme skiing cut those trails. No action was ever taken to catch the responsible parties in that case, but they are using every chance they get to pin the blame of this new cut on the environmentalists.

-There have been some really strange things happening at base camp.
Three days ago, the locals saw a helicopter hovering over the base camp house. A truck that was seen in a parking lot with tinted black windows ended up driving slowly by the driveway many times. Later, the same truck followed two EF!ers to the store. When the activists got the license plate number and began to take pictures the truck took off and a state police car went by. While we cannot say for sure that these are undercover cops and that a chopper just happened to like the base camp, it is strange nonetheless.

We are planning some legal protests soon. More to come!
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Clarification (english)
12 Aug 2003
I should clarify that the old-growth forest on Mt. Wachusett is the largest stand in the state EAST of the Connecticut River. There's a larger old-growth forest in the Mohawk Trail State Park.
Update 8/14/03 (english)
14 Aug 2003
Wachusett Update 8/14/03


-Yesterday There was a Monitoring Board and Wachusett Advisory Council meeting. The ski area operators were present. A local ecologist from a national environmental group found an area that was cut not to long ago. He was concerned because any cutting that happened on the mountain was illegal because of the injunction that was in place for the past couple of years. He made it known that he found the cut about a week ago. The lawyer for the environmentalists sent a letter to the WMA’s lawyer to notify them. What ended up happening blew us all away. The ski area is trying to blame Earth First! for the cutting! I’m not joking. It is important to remember that in the past years, 27 illegally cut trails have been found. Skiers and snowboarders that wanted off trail extreme skiing cut those trails. No action was ever taken to catch the responsible parties in that case, but they are using every chance they get to pin the blame of this new cut on the environmentalists.

-There have been some really strange things happening at base camp. Three days ago, the locals saw a helicopter hovering over the base camp house. A truck that was seen in a parking lot with tinted black windows ended up driving slowly by the driveway many times. Later, the same truck followed two EF!ers to the store. When the activists got the license plate number and began to take pictures the truck took off and a state police car went by. While we cannot say for sure that these are undercover cops and that a chopper just happened to like the base camp, it is strange nonetheless.

We are planning some legal protests soon. More to come!
Peaceful Protest Saturday, 8/23 @ Wachusett (english)
18 Aug 2003
Protest ski area expansion plans. Support the tree sitters Saturday August 23rd, 12 noon at the Mt. Wachusett Reservation visitors center.
Join MA Earth First! and other earth defenders for a day of protest against the Wachusett ski areas greedy expansion plans. Come support the Wachusett tree sitters and send a clear message to the developers, that these trees will not fall without a fight!

The Wachusett ski area got the ok from the State Supreme Judicial Court to cut down a 140 year old red oak forest that buffers the states largest stand of ancient forest east of the Connecticut River. Wachusett is publicly “owned” (if it is possible to own the earth), the ski area leases the land from the state. Wachusett is an important historical and ecological jewel in the North East. The Nipmuk people have lived within the mountains shadow for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the ski area can only see the forest for the green (not leaves or moss). Tree sits and legal actions have kept the developers at bay since August 1st. Come out with friends, signs, banners, drums, puppets, and children to support the sitters and the forests on Wachusett. This is a legal protest everyone is invited.

Directions: Rt 2 to exit 25 (Wachusett Exit). At end of ramp follow signs towards the Mountain. Stay on this road until you see the big green and white Wachusett ski area sign, take that right. At fork, bear left towards the Wachusett State Reservation. Go up the hill until you see the big brown sign, take that right and you are here.

What you can do:

Support the Wachusett Tree-sit by taking part in the support action, doing outreach or contacting the media. Call (978)273-7928 or email takeaction2001 (at) hotmail.com

Send donations to:

MA Earth First!
P.O Box 533
Lunenburg, MA 01462