SHERBURNE – Foresters breathed a sigh of relief last week as the July 1 date for closing the state’s last remaining tree nursery came and went without any directive from Albany.
It appears that the 98-year old Saratoga Tree Nursery will survive yet another New York State budget.
“Everybody’s relieved,” said Paul Romanenko, forester for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Rogers Environmental Education Center in Sherburne.
The news is particularly good for perpetuating native species such as red pine, white pine, red oak and sugar maple. Those species and others are being threatened by invasive insects and diseases such as the Forest Tent Caterpillar, Emerald Ash Borer, Syrex Woodwasp, and Hemlock Woolly.
The nursery should be kept to replace killed and salvaged timber, said Roy Hopke, a consulting forester from Chenango Forks and a member of the New York State Forest Practice Board and American Chestnut Foundation.
“This was not the time for the state to be jumping off the cliff. It should not be shut down as a casualty of the budget problems in this state. In some areas, there would be no means to replace timber without the affordable seedlings produced by the state nursery,” he said.