Bev Wigney's Photo-essay of Life on Hardwood Hill, Annapolis Co.

Bev Wigney Photos
Below is a selection of photos taken by Bev Wigney on the threatened Hardwood Hill in Annapolis Co.

From Bev's Intro to the photos on Annapolis Royal & Area - Environment & Ecology (facebook group):

Yesterday [Nov 12, 2018] Randall Fredericks, myself, a few others, got together to walk the area of the proposed "harvest" on Hardwood Hill, a tract of Crown Land between Round Hill and Tupperville. I took quite a few photos and have selected some to post here today - to share with you what is "up there" on the hill they want to cut. I'll also give you a brief description of the tract -- my impressions based on walking around quite a bit over the space of about 3+ hours.

The forest is accessed up a steep, stony forest road off the south side of Route 201. The proposed "harvest parcel" is at the top of a high ridge above Spurr Brook, and overlooking the Annapolis River, roughly across from Belle Isle Marsh to the north. It is estimated that the ridge was probably last logged around 1970. There are some wonderful large trees up there -- quite a few Hemlock, and Eastern White Pine, and a scattering of large White and Yellow Birch, and a few Sugar Maple. However, most of these large trees would have value mainly for wildlife as they have double trunks, are hollow inside, or have broken off and are now snags with holes made by wildlife such as Pileated Woodpeckers. There are many American Beech on the ridge -- apparently the target of the harvest -- but they are still quite small -- about the size of a forearm or maybe a bit larger in diameter. As one among our group mentioned, "they are even a bit small to be cutting for firewood." So, that leaves mainly the Hemlock. So far, there is no evidence of Woolly Adelgid on these trees -- they look healthy. They are growing in an area of hummocky forest soil - wet enough for there to be sphagnum moss. They are growing among granite boulders -- in fact, one that I photographed, is growing atop a large granite boulder, reminiscent of one of my favourite Hemlock on the Hemlock Trail at Kejimkujik. Most of the larger Hemlock that "they" probably would like to harvest, lie at the south end of the tract, so a logging road would have to be forced through this spongy, boulder-littered forest -- in other words, causing a lot of damage to the understory.

Just beyond the proposed tract, there is a wet meadow with a stillwater where people fish for trout. It is part of Spurr Brook where it passes by the proposed tract. It's a delightful spot, that can be accessed on foot by an old roadway which is a sort of pioneer road running parallel to the brook. One of our party found a very large old metal-rimmed wagon wheel there. Large boulders were cleared from this roadway a very long time ago and form a sort of random wall to one side. They are often covered with moss and lichen. Even though it was late in the season for botanizing, we found a few interesting plants. I look forward to revisiting the site next spring and can't help but think what a wonderful site this would be for a community forest nature trail -- rather than a site to be harvested with the "fibre" probably going mostly for either pulp, or more likely, as "biomass" to be incinerated in the generating plant. Do we really need to ravage one of our few remaining public-owned natural areas close to Annapolis Royal, just to score more chipped wood for pulp or biomass?

Anyhow, here are my photos. I took many more, but chose these to give some impression of what is up on Hardwood Hill.

Bev Wigney Photos

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