As it appears the day is nearing where clear cutting will begin on a large, wooded tract across Chapel Hill and Carrboro, a group is making a last-ditch effort to stop the work from moving forward.
PH Craig owns a large piece of land that extends from Seawell School Road in Chapel Hill well into Carrboro. The acreage has been a focal point recently as Craig has received a permit to clear cut a portion of the property.
Opponents say clearing the woods, which are heavily used by the public for trails, will cause environmental damage to the land, including Bolin Creek, which winds through the property.
A community event is being organized for Saturday on the Carrboro Town Hall lawn from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. during the Farmer’s Market. Organizers say they will have a petition urging against the clear-cutting of the land.
If a contract is signed next week to allow a timbering contractor to begin clear cutting, advocates say it will be too late to turn back.
“Basically, the PH Craig tract would be gone, or a large portion of it would be gone,” said Linda Haac, one of those organizing Saturday’s event.
Craig has said the forest needs to be timbered for its long-term health.
Groups have been working to stop the clear cutting from proceeding, holding community events and working with mayors of Chapel Hill and Carrboro in an effort to reach an agreement where the property would be preserved.
“We are still talking with Mr. Craig,” Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said on Thursday, “trying to figure out if there’s other opportunities that can be reached, other consensus.”
The clear cutting drew additional attention after two other plots along Estes Drive in Chapel Hill were recently clear cut. The proposal of clear cutting on Craig’s property is much larger than the other two projects.
Haac said the Craig property’s position, between the Carrboro-owned Adams Tract and the Carolina North forest, increased the need to preserve the forest.
While Haac said the group is “disappointed” there has been no resolution to this point, she said they remain hopeful.
“I just really hope that Mr. Craig understands how important what he has done up until this point has been to our towns and our community,” Haac said, “and how appreciated he is, in terms of that, and that he continues to understand the value of keeping the forest the way it is.”
You can get more information on the permitted work on the Chapel Hill portion of the Craig property here. For more information on the petition asking Craig to stop moving forward with the clear cutting process, click here.
Craig has said he will replant Loblolly Pine trees in the area that is clear cut.
Photo via Town of Carrboro