It is nice of Mr. Hepburn to volunteer his time with The Land Conservancy – live on the property – and continue the long history of Merve’s ‘ forest walks’, and to form the new volunteer group, ‘Friends of Wildwood’.
But to think that they can get a ‘fresh start’ at Merve’s Wildwood ecoforest or promoting Merve’s system of ecologically sustainable ecoforestry by, “hosting events”, … getting young people involved and, “learn from us “, or, “preserving this place”, … this is the same folly-talk Merve heard from the TLC & their partner, the Ecoforestry Institute.
The contractual obligations of maintaining Wildwood as an operational ecoforest, placing a protective covenant on the title of the property to prevent unsustainable or clear-cut harvesting, and produce an operational Forest Management Plan in accord with Merve’s ‘selection logging ecoforestry system’, have still not been done – nearly 15 years since he sold Wildwood to TLC at a ‘gift price’in exchange for this Agreement. The EFI had their office forester produce the typical RPF bloated
Report, which Merve read and publicly rejected.
Then, Merve had me study this report and do a survey of the forest which we reviewed for the long-delayed necessary harvesting – which Merve also publicly called for – so to keep Wildwood still being Wildwood.
As Merve described in our last two meetings, it had been more than a decade since his required normal harvesting – the very harvesting that enabled him to get the forest to be ‘Wildwood’.
Then, he said, “The forest canopy is closing-in because there is no harvesting and I am not seeing the natural regeneration I normally do”.
Those who understand Merve’s ecoforestry selection logging system, know that natural regeneration is the cornerstone: which he taught for decades at his weekly Saturday tours (which he had me do occasionally), and the Ecoforestry Workshops we taught around B.C., Washington & Oregon – Wildwood is his demonstration of natural regeneration.
When Mr. Hepburn states, “To keep it going the way Merv would have done it”, Merve would be thrilled to see his life’s
work returned to its healthy condition – increasing disease due to the lack of harvesting concerned him – the forest renewing itself from natural regeneration and operational harvests according to his ‘selection logging ecoforestry
system’ – Wildwood! And, as always, the Saturday ‘Walk ‘n Talks’ explaining and showing how Wildwood is an alternative to industrial logging.
How Mr. Hepburn and Friends of Wildwood will actually do this, is their next step.
Having been Merve’s student, worked on harvesting and other projects at Wildwood and taught with Merve for more than a decade, I would help return Wildwood to Merve’s Wildwood ecoforest.
Charter Member, Ecoforestry Institute: Oregon & B.C.