Cowls Tree Farm: "Respectful visits welcome"
It's certainly one thing to mount a protest campaign including lawn signs, newspaper columns, and vocal gatherings at public meetings -- something I applaud -- but another thing altogether to deviate into criminal activity. And I consider vandalism criminal. As does the law.
Last week someone defaced a wall in the bathrooms at Cowls Building Supply in North Amherst with the graffiti "Leave Cushman Alone!" Sort of betrays that it was politically motivated.
Also last week members of the "Save Historic Cushman" group filed a complaint with state and local authorities over logging practices at the forest off Henry Street Cowls wishes to sell to a developer for student housing.
On Monday the Amherst Conservation Commission and state Department of Conservation and Recreation toured the site and found nothing major amiss.
Amherst Conservation Commission and State officials on site
Which comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the 9th generation Cowls family, the largest private landowners in the state and tree huggers since before the term was invented.
Just as it only takes a tiny minority of irresponsible party hardy students to give all students in town a bad name, so it is with activist groups. Ironically the Save Historic Cushman folks are worried about rowdy student behavior and yet one or two of them are putting on an equally pernicious performance.
And since bad things often comes in three's: At the Amherst Sustainability Festival Saturday on the Town Common a young conservation minded female working at the W.D. Cowls, Inc tent handing out free seedlings was verbally accosted by an older woman who represented herself as a member of Save Historic Cushman.
Including the mean barb, "You want the woods to look as ugly as you are," which sent her sobbing to the safety of her car.
Also on Saturday afternoon AFD responded to a brush fire along the cleared area just above Henry Street, far enough away so it could not have been sparks or a cigarette thrown from a passing vehicle.
First responders thought it was human activity that caused the fire, as in a party bonfire. But now I wonder:
Would someone take this hot button issue to an extreme, fighting fire with fire?
AFD Henry Street brush fire Saturday 2:45 PM
Henry Street Fire