Public turns out, opinions vary at LBL listening session

Emotions ran high at the first public forum at Land Between the Lakes. 

The U.S. Forest Service hosted the session. Anyone from law makers to neighbors could voice their ideas and concerns over logging and clear cutting at Land Between the Lakes.

The Forest Service says it’s to improve the area, while those opposed believe the Forest Service is destroying the land. But the opinions were as wide and varied as the land itself.

Concerned citizens filled the Convention Center forum, with standing room only. The moderators reminded those who attended the discussion topic was very important, but also very emotional.

Jan Bush, Public Affairs Officer at Land Between the Lakes says this was their goal- to hear from all concerned parties, but says tonight the Forest Service would only sit and learn.

“We’re not trying to talk we’re really trying to listen,” says Bush.

Everyone spoke out, including local leaders like Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White. He says the $9 million used to change the landscape at Land Between the Lakes could be better used to improve the area and roads. White also said part of the confusion and controversy around Land Between the Lakes is because of changing language. White says, “this debate has gone on long enough, and people need consistent terminology.”

State Rep. Gerald Watkins, from Paducah, said he recently took a drive around Land Between the Lakes and was disgusted at the clearings. “May I say it looks like crap,” said Watkins.

Father Richy Moore says he and his 12-year-old daughter Daly Moore were motivated by their mutual concern for the future of the land. He says, “There won’t be anything left for her generation.”

But others say it unwise to keep the Forest Service from doing their job and manage the land.

There will be a second public forum hearing June 16 at Stewart County Visitor Center, U.S. Highway 79 in Dover, Tennessee.

The Forest Service will compile the comments and logs, and load them onto their website, Bush says they need time to read and review all comments before taking any kind of action.

County leaders also coordinated a tour of the clear-cut and logged lands. The convoy is open to the public Sunday, June 28 at 3 p.m. and will meet at the LBL North Welcome Station.

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