The Westford Town Forest Committee will conduct a forest thinning operation on part of the Martina Gage town forest parcel this summer.

The forest land is located on both sides of Gage Road, which is a privately maintained right-of-way in Westford near the Chelmsford line.

Martina Gage donated this forest land to the Town of Westford through her will in 1935. She was a businesswoman and philanthropist that ran the Daniel Gage Ice Company in Lowell for 28 years.

Approximately 20 of the 75 acres will be thinned. Thinning opens up the forest canopy and allows sunlight to reach the forest floor to encourage younger tree growth.

This thinning operation will be conducted in accordance with the Gage Forest Stewardship Plan that was developed by licensed forester John Robbins, and approved by the Westford Board of Selectmen and the Massachusetts State Forester of the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Robbins assessed the species, age and general health of the trees throughout the forest and has been marking individual trees for removal in accordance with the plan.

The Town Forest Committee held public meetings leading up to this thinning operation, held a site walk for neighbors and interested residents in mid-2018 and has been publishing news articles concerning the upcoming thinning activity.

The Town Forest Committee recently contracted with Blanchflower Logging Inc. to conduct the operation. They are a fourth-generation family owned business based in Leominster. Blanchflower Logging Inc. will be held responsible for any damage done to Gage Road.

Some of the toppled trees in the blow-down areas from the violent 2018 summer windstorm will be removed. The thinning and debris removal will also improve access to a portion of the hiking trail between the Gage Forest and the 4H Fairgrounds to the north.

The thinning operation is expected to run for several weeks.