The following contains meeting notes captured during the Fox Hollow public meeting on Thursday, June 23, 2016.
The Fox Hollow meeting convened at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at the Forest Service Administrative Office located at 100 Van Morgan Drive, Golden Pond, KY 42211. The meeting was open to the public: Twelve members of the public and six Forest Service employees were in attendance.
Forest Service Staff present
- Tina Tilley, Area Supervisor
- John Westbrook, Environmental Stewardship Department Manager
- Barbara Wysock, Area Planner
- Jan Bush, Communications Department Manager
- Josh Frye, Public Affairs Specialist
- Christine Bombard, Executive Assistant
- Tina Tilley opened the meeting and thanked everyone for their attendance. She expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity for collaboration today. The public’s engagement is critical to helping the Forest Service continue to learn how to better engage the public when considering proposals to land and resource management activities.
- We are here today to discuss the potential opportunities for the Fox Hollow area. Today is all about the discussion and sharing. At this time, the Forest Service has no proposed action. We have invited you here to identify the cultural, social and resource aspects needs for the landscape.
- It is all about collaboration. The goal for today is to work collaboratively to identify opportunities that includes good open dialogue and overall time of sharing.
- This is markedly different from how the Forest Service has done things in the past. Traditionally, we would develop a project proposal and then sent it out to the public and ask for input. This is the beginning of a new way of looking at management.
- You’ll see that we don’t have data in hand. That is intentional. As we work through the collaboration process we want to glean all the potential opportunities and get a broader potential on the landscape. The hope is to be more in line and focused with the public’s desires. We will not always agree but hopefully be closer than in the past.
- Tina gave the definition of collaboration as a diverse group that is working together to achieve goals and improve outcomes. Collaboration brings a variety of diverse voices and thoughts to the table.
- Today’s success is focused on the discussion and open communication.
- Tina discussed logistics, safety and meeting norms. This is an informal meeting. Feel free to get up and look at the maps and aerial photo’s at any time during the process.
- Switch cell phones to off or vibrate
- Speak up
- Do not talk over each other; it is about diversity of thought
- Keep comments to 3 minutes; then allow for discussion; then okay to comment again
- This is your meeting: Tina and John are here as conveners
- Focus on the why; not looking at the how/tools right now
Introductions were made at this time and attendees shared the reason(s) why they are here today
- Director of Kentucky Heartwood; has been visiting Land Between The Lakes for over 10 years
- Member of Tennessee Heartwood and the Sierra Club; avid sportsman, backpacks and wants to get into hunting
- President of Between the Rivers; 6th generation to have lived at the north end of Land Between The Lakes until 10 years old then run out by TVA; the former residents are the conscience of this place and want to ensure that what was done here was worthwhile; wants children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy
- Grew up in the general area: it’s beautiful: raised family here; member of Land Between The Lakes Association; wants to make it a better place for all of us to enjoy
- Natural Resource Manager at Lake Barkley; we have common goals; here to see what we can do to provide opportunities to visitors
- Has been hunting here for 35 years; concerned about the deer population; lives in Sevierville TN In 1969 was the manager of the bison and agricultural lands; worked here for 26 years; loves this place
- Lives in Dover TN; retired military; brings his family here to hunt and fish; loves Land Between The Lakes
- Member of Kentucky Heartwood; has love of nature, wild places, and learning about the history of the Between the Rivers and its cultural connections
- Former resident; loves the area; member of Land Between The Lakes Advisory Board; wants to participate and learn
- Lives in Canton KY: this is her backyard; enjoys hiking and boating here; loves this place and wants it to stay beautiful and healthy; does not want to see it turned into Disney World
- Resident of Trigg County
Discussion on Fox Hollow
- The Forest Service has been working with the Land Between The Lakes Advisory Board about how we can become better at sharing information. As a result of this, Fox Hollow was developed as a case study. The Forest Service, Advisory Board and members of public participated in field trips to the Fox Hollow area. Various public meetings have also been held. We are now looking at developing potential opportunities for Fox Hollow. We are looking at moving towards what could be potentially be a project.
- If it works out to be a project it will be developed utilizing collaboration and by a diverse group. This is a new way of doing things for us. We are learning as we go.
- To assist you in this process we have provided handouts of the Potential Needs Statement that was crafted at the last Advisory Board meeting. As well as, a summary of a portion of Land Between The Lakes Area Plan.
- Why are we focusing on the Fox Hollow area? Fox Hollow is at the south end of the unit by the Homeplace. That area was chosen due to things that could be seen by the publics. Fox Hollow does not have high emotional things in or around the area. We do not want this process to be emotion driven. There is opportunity on the ground to begin the framework of addressing the social and environmental needs and desires as expressed by the public.
- John Westbrook shared that there is not a lot of data to share at this time. We are not wanting to make assumptions. We do not want to narrow the scope for opportunities. Your values and history are important to us and this process. This place does not have the same value to everyone but it is very valuable. This process is an effort to show that we are listening. This is your opportunity to be truly engaged. Our long term goal is to develop skills that go beyond Fox Hollow.
The following are comments or questions expressed by some of the meeting participants
- Both sides are going to have to start working together. The tug of war that has been going on is not working. There is changes in everything. Also, funding levels have changed. There is going to have to be timber thinning. New growth is needed for food for wildlife. He’d like to see bigger deer. He’s even willing to pay to come and hunt here for big deer opportunities.
- You are saying that this is not a project now but are we collaborating to help build a project? If yes, then are we also able to decide whether or not no project is an option as well?
- Today is about developing opportunities that may potentially lead to a project. Yes, no project may be considered as an option.
- We need to start getting data otherwise we are not really talking about anything. This is okay for now but moving forward data is necessary to be effective.
- We need to know what is possible before we can start collecting data. We need some sort of direction and identify points of consensus.
- A request was made to see timber receipts. Wants to see the real data.
- It’s okay to cut trees at the right place and at the right time. There was acknowledgment that this statement might mean something different to different individuals.
- There is a need for the right projects on the land for the right reasons. Who is currently managing the fields?
- There is no shortage of open lands at this time.
- TVA had open land to keep the place from turning into a Forest Service. No more non-native vegetation.
- Crop leasing to grow corn for deer.
- Is it reasonable to obtain an estimate for the cost of native grass by the end of the summer? Would like to see fields of native grass and wildflowers.
Below are potential opportunities that were identified for Fox Hollow
- Data collection must be nested with the opportunities
- Possible addition of trails
- Plan at higher resolution than the stand level
- Loblolly removal potentially challenging due to erosion concerns and elevation variance
- Preserve and enhance open area/lands
- Existing old farms
- Land management may involve compromise
- Generally: re-evaluate hunting regulations
- Trophy hunt based on points/antlers
- Incorporate Citizen Science in projects/assessments/surveys etc. before anything else
- Restore open lands
- Increase food plots
- Convert former fields to native grasses and other desirable natives
- Opportunities include Grants and Partnerships
- Emphasize existing landscape diversity
- Opportunities for research
- Preserve “older portions” of Fox Hollow
- Optimize native plantings based on overarching strategy
- Cane break areas = opportunities
- Riparian habitat and associations
- Manage for quail
- Prevent spread of invasive species
- Environmental Education opportunities
- Soil conditions
John thanked everyone for their passion and diverse conversation. The decisions are not ours alone.
Tina closed out the meeting by thanking everyone for their time and participation. These are the types of conversations that are going to continue. The next step is to take this information to the Advisory Board to develop potential opportunities.