Community concerned with Land Between the Lakes Plan

Judge Executives Wade White and Hollis Alexander called a community meeting Wednesday to communicate their concerns about what’s happening on Land Between the Lakes. 

White told Local 6 he started digging into the matter when he heard about the Scenery Management Plan released in 2014. In it the Forest Service detailed plans to return much of the wooded areas in LBL to “pre-european landscape” which is outlined as barrens, oak grasslands savannas and open canopy woods. The Forest Service has since said it has pulled that plan, but White maintains that the department is still implementing it on pieces. 

“This has slowly crept in to different things that they’re doing throughout LBL and once they get some, they’re going to bring it all together and LBL is going to be a whole different place than it is now,” he said. 

Around 8,600 acres have already been cleared as designated as Oakland Grasslands Demonstration Areas, yet, by 2013, only 800 acres have been restored to native grasses.  

White and most community members don’t disagree with the demonstration areas, but they do disagree with the additional logging and burning that’s happening preparing more land to become grasslands. White said there’s no proof yet that grasslands can be maintained and will thrive. 

Representatives of the Forest Services maintain the current logging and burning are helping keep the woods healthy. 

White said he’s asking for the following:

          Retreat back into the demonstration areas the Forest Service currently has to show the grassland they desire is manageable, doable and desirable by the public, hunters, bikers, and lovers of the outdoors.  Prove it works.  This 8,600 acres will provide a lot of land for those hunting experiences that benefit from fire and for the experiment.

          Commit to stop further payment unit Timber Sales until this debate is complete.

          Do not move forward with the Pisgah Bay Project or other projects similar to it until this debate is complete.

          Commit to protecting and preserving large areas of old growth forests all across LBL and promote the core areas for visitation and exploring.

          A new commitment to recreational facility upkeep, trail and road improvements and a desire to build new recreation activities in the older growth forests and other areas. 

          Preserve and honor the cultural remnants that exist all over LBL

No one from the Forest Service was at the meeting Thursday, but Jan Bush, a spokesperson said they wanted to be respectful of the meeting and felt as though their presence would change the tone of the meeting. She said they plan to set up a time to meet with White in the near future to discuss the comments collected at the meeting. 

White would like people to express their opinions to Tina Tilley with Forest Services. You can email her at ttilley@fs.fed.us or call her at 1-800-525-7077. Comments can also be mailed to to her at 100 Van Morgan Drive Golden pond, KY 42211.

If you’d also like to contact your Congressman and Senators you should reach out to Congressman Ed Whitfield, Senator Mitch McConnell, and Senator Rand Paul.

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