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Modern Use of Draft Horses in Logging and Restorative Forestry Demonstrated

092004forestry_dl.jpgBOONE–A restorative forestry lecture and demonstration will be held Friday, Oct. 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Springhouse Farm in Valle Crucis. Participants are encouraged to bring a lunch.

The event is sponsored by Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts, Department of Art and Sustainable Development Program.

Jason Rutledge from the Healing Harvest Forest Foundation will lead the lecture and demonstration along with Clifford Cox and his horses.

Tree farms often are planted with pines and then clear-cut, producing a 35-year tree crop. Some loggers selectively cut the best trees, a practice called “high grading” which can create a poor forest.

Healing Forest Foundation endorses a process that works the opposite way. Woodsman cut about 30 percent of a stand every 10 to 15 years. Damaged or defective trees are cut first, like weeding a garden. The additional light, water and nutrients help the remaining trees grow. “You just go out and take the worst trees first, and the forest will get better,” Rutledge said.

Horses work perfectly with Rutledge’s vision of helping forests through logging. Horses can easily get to select trees, and their hooves do less damage to the trunks and roots of the remaining trees than heavy equipment.

Rutledge is president and co-founder of the Healing Harvest Forest Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization established to develop, implement and support community-based sustainable forestry initiatives through the widespread use of animal-powered extraction of logs. The group promotes what it calls restorative forestry and promotes “worst firs” single tree selection of individual trees in timber harvesting.

Directions to Springhouse Farm: From Boone, take Hwy. 105 South (towards Foscoe/Banner Elk). Turn right at the first stoplight outside of Boone (just over the Watauga River bridge) onto Broadstone Road, towards Valle Crucis (follow signs to the Mast Store). Drive 2.8 miles and turn left onto Hwy. 194 towards Banner Elk, directly in front of the Valle Crucis Elementary School. Drive approx. 1/2 mile and turn left onto Clark’s Creek Road (the first state road). Drive 1.8 miles, the road turns to gravel, and the road name changes to Justus Road. Continue to drive straight 1/3 mile, the farm is the second house on the right after the road turns to gravel (just over the second small bridge). Look for a shed covered with old license plates along the road and a brown mailbox labeled Springhouse Farm.

Call (828) 963-4656 for additional information.