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News ::
Wachusett Forests: Everybody Wake Up! (english)
01 Oct 2003
Report on Sept 20 demonstration at Mt Wachusett and planning meeting for organizing a regionwide support network for the Wachusett forests
Mount Wachusett Forests: Everybody Wake Up!

Saturday, September 20, 2003
Princeton & Westminster, MA, USA

40 friends of Wachusett’s forests gathered on September 20 at the mountain for a peaceful demonstration to lament the cutting of a stand of older trees for ski area expansion. The group included concerned people from Worcester, Boston, the Sierra Club, Native American groups, the Global Action Network, indymedia, the Old Path Sangha of Boston, South Central Recycling Association of Massachusetts, the Worcester Quaker Meeting, Westminster, Princeton, western MA, Albany, Providence, and Spain. They carried signs mourning the clearcut, objecting to the privatization of public lands, questioning the role of the State Police, and saying, “No more cutting on Wachusett.”

In the public statement passed out at the event, the group said, “The WMA Ski area, the State, and the local media would like us to believe that the conflict over Wachusett’s forests is over, and that MA Earth First! is an isolated, irrelevant band of pranksters. This is far from the truth. Earth First! is part of a worldwide movement to protect ancient forests and the last of the globe’s wild heritage. Their actions serve to WAKE UP the rest of us to the destruction and exploitation that goes on under the corporate banner. Many every day citizens, like us, stand with the tree-sitters in wishing to protect forests.”

“We trusted the courts, and they have let us down. We trusted the leadership of our environmental organizations, and they have done their best. But silence, misinformation, and public inertia are complicit in letting money, guns and media do or say what they want. The trees have no voice in public forums. We must be a voice for them. We must say, ‘This clearcut is unacceptable. This is enough.’ ”

7 people gathered for a silent interfaith vigil at the driveway to Wachusett Mountain Associates, who manage the ski area.

At the demonstration welcome comments were offered by Chris Phillips, a farmer from Worcester, and operator of Turtle Path Mindfulness Practice Center. Linda Detloff, a recent graduate of Antioch College’s Environmental Studies program read a poem. The group set out single file along Mountain Rd, with signs and a lively drumbeat. They walked through the parking lot of
the ski area and around the lodge. They then joined hands in the middle of the parking lot to perform the Elm Dance. This is a folk circle-dance used around the world by the ancient forest movement to generate the intention of healing. (see Members of the group shared intentions for healing on the mountain, in other forests of the world, and in the hearts and minds of all parties to the recent disputes over forest cutting at Wachusett.

After the Elm Dance, the group re-formed their line and returned to the State Reservation Visitor Center. As they were leaving the ski area parking lot 3 police cruisers arrived, responding to an exagerated call from WMA that the group had joined hands “at the doors.” An unmarked helicopter arrived and kept the front of the line in view on the return walk. This response seemed typical of the unwarranted forcefulness used by WMA and the State Police during the occupation of the trees by MA Earth First! Those gathered shared observations about the parallels between the Wachusett situation and arrangements between corporations, the state, and the military in so many exploited corners of the world. The State Police have seemed more active in supporting the interests of the ski area than those of the general public.

The group handed out statements calling for a stop to deforestation on Wachusett, and asking for wide public support for the Act Authorizing the Establishment of Old Growth Forest Reserves in Mass, drafted by Mass Audubon, and to make sure this act includes Mt Wachusett, which it does not at present.

There were also a number of ways people can get involved in building a regional movement to protect Wachusett Old Growth:

 Help build a regionwide movement by becoming part of the communication network
 Plan songs, poetry, paintings, photo exhibits, dance, theatre, sculpture to honor and celebrate the unique natural heritage at Wachusett.
 Join in planning benefit concerts, a speaker series, teach-ins, interfaith vigils, leafletting at public events, and educating others
 Join monthly walking meditations into the Old Growth Forest
 Join regular nature hikes in the Old Growth offered by trained naturalists
 Help document the story of Wachusett’s forest and the damaging effects of ski expansion for regional and national media
 Reach out to visitors to the park and ski area, plus the residents of Westminster and Princeton who are most impacted by this cutting on our public lands
 Stand against questionable conduct by the State Police. It appears that State Police arbitrarily declared trespass on public trails when there was none, conducted photo surveillance of citizens, and stood by during threatening acts by the staff of WMA. Civil liberties for the public seem to drop out of the picture once a private firm has hired the Police.
 Help hold the state agency, MDCR, accountable for its role in whittling away at the State Park’s natural heritage.
 Contact the Sierra Club (Jay McCaffery, 617-423-5775) and encourage them to continue their campaign of defending Wachusett’s forests. Join the Sierra Club!
 Contact state Senators ( and urge them to sign on to the upcoming Old Growth Bill, but first to make sure it includes Wachusett.

The group will hold a planning meeting on Friday Oct, 3, 7 pm at 266 Greenwood St, Worcester. Details, 508-757-9533, or chris (at)

The group is a self-organizing community response to the attack on public lands and forests at Mt Wachusett, without any one leader, and representing no particular organizations. The goal is to build a regionwide movement which will be ready to mobilize whenever the Wachusett forests need public support in the future.

The friendly demonstration closed with an overview of the situation, emphasizing the regional and international significance of Wachusett’s Old Growth, announcements, a blessing, and the reading of two poems, “Emancipation Procalamation,” by William Heyen, and “How Long does it take to Make the Woods?” by Wendell Berry.

Emancipation Proclamation by William Heyen

Whereas it minds its own business
& lives in its one place so faithfully
& its trunk supports us when we lean against it
& its branches remind us of how we think

Whereas it keeps no bank account but hoards carbon
& does not discriminate between starlings and robins
& provides free housing for insects and squirrels
& lifts its heartwood grave into the air

Whereas it holds our firmament in place
& writes underground gosepl with its roots
& whispers us oxygen with is leaves
& may not survive its new climate of ultraviolet

We the people for ourselves and our children
necessarily proclaim this tree
free from commerce & belonging to itself
as long as it & we shall live.

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