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Murrysville

Timbering plan will benefit Export property as well as community-park project

Patrick Varine
| Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, 2:36 p.m.

As Export officials continue saving money to develop a signature community park, they are looking to add to the coffers through a large parcel the borough owns in neighboring Murrysville.

The 74 acres off Borland Farm Road includes about 20 acres of forested area. Borough council members this week consulted with a forester to begin developing a plan to manage and timber the property.

“It was a place where a lot of people hunted, and much of it was used for recreation,” Councilman John Nagoda said. “But we have a lot of growth in the understory, and I think we need to start managing it.”

Dave O’Barto of Consulting Foresters agreed.

“The harvesting I’d propose would be a ‘seed-tree harvest’ to allow sunlight to the forest floor and spur growth,” O’Barto said.

Before that happens, however, invasive species need to be addressed.

“The first thing you’ll need to do is apply herbicide to the understory to get rid of invasives,” O’Barto said.

“Get rid of” is a relative term, however.

“It’s an ongoing process — you’ll never eradicate all of it,” O’Barto said. “Bad stuff’s going to come back, especially Japanese stiltgrass. I see it everywhere I go, and it’s bad.”

Herbicide typically is applied between May and September.

“We’re kind of out of the window for this year,” O’Barto told council. “But if you want to do this, next spring would be the time.”

Between now and then, O’Barto said he plans to walk the property, mark timber to be removed, estimate its value and consider a cutting date.

Properly managed harvesting could generate up to $1,000 per acre, O’Barto said.

“If I owned it, or if this was state forest land, I’d propose exactly what I have here,” he said.

Murrysville officials “are encouraged any time a property owner wishes to improve their property within the municipality,” Chief Administrator Jim Morrison said.

O’Barto and Export officials will work next on securing the permits necessary for managing the property.

Borough council voted 6-0 to enter into a contract with O’Barto, pending a review of the contract by solicitor Wes Long. Councilman Ed Persin was not present.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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