NELSONVILLE, Ohio — The Wayne National Forest Athens Ranger District is seeking public feedback by Jan. 9, on a proposal that is intended to convert planted pine to young native hardwood forest.
If approved, the Kehota Vegetation Management Project proposal would authorize the harvest of about 490 acres of planted pine to encourage the re-establishment of native hardwood trees and the creation of young, brushy forest to provide a diverse wildlife habitat.
The forest that re-grows would be a mix of trees native to the area, including tulip tree, black cherry, maples, and other hardwood species. Natural re-growth could be supplemented with planted trees.
The areas under consideration are located in the general vicinity of the communities of New Straitsville, Shawnee, McCuneville, Gore and Greendale, in Perry and Hocking counties, on the Athens Ranger District of the Wayne National Forest.
“The stands that are proposed for harvest were planted in rows of pine 30-65 years ago in order to stabilize soils that were eroding from that past land use. Pine plantations provide limited benefit to wildlife,” said Jason Reed, district ranger for the Athens Ranger District.
This proposal includes timber harvest that would create a number of temporary clearings. Four of these would be greater than 40 acres in size. The National Forest Management Act (36 CFR 219) allows temporary clearings greater than 40 acres, provided that the public is given 60 days’ notice and the Regional Forester reviews the proposal.
These larger harvests are proposed in order to facilitate the removal and replacement of pine plantations with native hardwoods. This scoping period provides for the first 30 days of the required 60 days’ notice.
Following the scoping period, an environmental analysis will be completed and made available to the public for a 30-day comment period. If approved, a decision would likely be made in August, with timber harvests to occur over the next several years.
Public comments can be made to Rachel Orwan at Wayne National Forest, 13700 U.S. Hwy 33, Nelsonville, by Jan. 9, specifically stating that they are in reference to the scoping period for the Kehota Vegetation Management Project.
How to respond
Comments should directly relate the proposed action to a resource impact. Include your name, current physical mailing address, phone number and signature or other verification of identity with your comments.
You can also call to discuss this project at 740-753-0101 during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) or submit comments electronically to: firstname.lastname@example.org.