U.S. Forest Service hosts meeting about potential LBL treatment

The U.S. Forest Service says 240 acres in Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area is still littered with debris from July’s EF2 tornado.    

The Forest Service says, with so many downed trees across the area, it’s important to clean it up or tend to the area in other ways. But not everyone agrees with those solutions.

Opponents say to let Mother Nature take care of it, but the forest service says something should be done.

Jan Culwell says she goes to LBL to clear her mind. But, she says it’ll do more harm than good if the Forest Service clears it out. She says: “This is my backyard when I want to get away from people and noise.”

She says: “It’s habitat. I just don’t see the sense improving something that’s perfect.”

That’s why there was a group meeting with the US Forest service at the Birmingham Ferry area. The Forest Service says this kind of debris can cause safety problems, bring in invasive species, and pose fire hazards.

John Westbrook with the Forest Service says these are the thoughts he wanted to hear before they make a decision about the 240 acres. No decision has been made, but Westbrook says they want to make the final decision with the public. He says they want to hear specific solutions not just disagreement

“The plan was to remove just the downed and the damaged tree if our publics are in favor of it and if they’re not we’re willing to walk away at this point,” says Westbrook.

Culwell says there’s only one solution: To keep the land as it was intended to be. “Lands have come under attack they look like a source of income to someone who doesn’t appreciate the nature they can find here.”

Again, the forest service has not made a decision on what to do with the debris. That’s why they’re accepting public comments now.

Lyon county judge executive Wade White has wanted to stop the logging and treatment of LBL areas. He was at the meeting Friday and sent us this statement"

The Forest Service is proposing logging trees NOT impacted by the tornado in order to pay for the clean up those that were damaged.  Yet, a larger footprint of destruction will be left behind from the Forest Service building temporary roads and clear cutting for seven log landings than done by the tornado.  I ask the Forest Service to clean up what they can reach from current roads for safety and leave the rest to nature. 

I also ask the public to help with the cleanup! Did you know anyone wanting to cut wood and leave it for campers may do so by cutting any downed tree in this area.  Also if you want to take that wood outside LBL there is a $20.00 yearly permit.  The Forest Service has welcomed your participation.  You need wood?  Help with the clean up today and we can solve this problem within weeks without logging."

For Permit:  https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/visit/special-permits/     

For public comment email comments-southern-land-between-lakes@fs.fed.us by Sept. 30.

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