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Public Listening Session 2

Public Listening Session 2

Editor’s Note: The following notes come from a listening session/meeting we held with members of the public. The notes were supplied by a third party professional; we submit these notes without changes except to fix name spellings. If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected]s.fed.us.

Thank you.
Jan Bush


Land Between The Lakes
Listening Session Notes
KY Dam Village State Park Convention Center
June 11, 2015
6:00-8:30pm

Welcome:

Jerry welcomed the approximately 300 attendees and thanked everyone for attending tonight’s meeting.  He explained that the goal is for all parties to listen and understand one another.  This forum is about sharing ideas and being willing to listen to the ideas of others.  The format for tonight is similar to our last meeting.  Volunteers will be able to speak for three minutes; others will be able to respond/correct within a one-minute time frame.  Because several elected officials are present, they have been allotted five minutes to speak.  Jerry reminded the audience that the atmosphere of tonight’s meeting is not to be combative, but to clarify, amplify, or respond to a topic.
He reminded those present that this is an emotional topic, but asked everyone we be respectful of each other.  At the last meeting, most of the speakers represented only one side of the issue.  The hope is to listen to people on all sides of the issue.  Jerry reiterated that this meeting and the speakers should follow a reasoned, respectful, and restrained format.

Elected Officials:

Wade White (County Judge Executive, Lyon County, KY):

Judge White quoted several documents released by the Forest Service and reports from the media.  Since 2004, the Forest Service has discussed “pre-European” landscapes. They describe this as oak grasslands, oak woodlands, barrens, savannah, and prairies.  They thin the trees and use prescribed fires until the native grasses grow within the remaining trees.  Recently, you hear terms like “the health of the forest,” “land treatments,” “land restoration,” and “timber treatments,” but it all means the same thing.  The 8,600 doesn’t have a success story yet. If you haven’t seen it, the 8,600 Coalition will be having a tour on June 28, 3:00pm if anyone wants to tour the 8,600.

In 2009 the Forest Service wrote a grant to fund large-scale landscape change within LBL.  They were not awarded the grant, but they began doing the project anyway.  The grant asked for 9.9 million dollars to fund the 10-year project. Judge White quoted several parts of the proposal.  The project called for “creation of grasslands, barrens, savannahs, and woodlands on a landscape scale.”  “Strategically we have scattered land treatments in the north and south of LBL.  We will use additional land treatments in these areas to block up our existing treatments…Once this is done, we will work to connect these large blocks.”

In 2013, the Forest Service presented a slideshow at the NWTF convention in Nashville.  One slide stated, “Work with partners to create larger blocks (landscape scale) 10,000 acres of areas comprised of open woodlands and grasses… by use of prescribed fire and timber thinning.”  Additionally, a couple of months ago, Judge White and Congressman Whitfield stood in front of a sign at Eddyville Ferry Road where logging was taking place. This was the same sign placed in front of the 8,600 describing thinning trees and prescribed fire over years that will allow native grasses to grow.

Then, the Pisgah Bay project began right across the road from the Eddyville Ferry project.  The Pisgah Bay Project Brochure from the Forest Service says it calls for “4,469 acres by thinning trees using mechanical and non-mechanical means, including herbicide use.” Forest Service personnel were quoted in the Cadiz paper stating that the Pisgah Bay Project was “to return it to pre-European settlement conditions.”  A similar quote was reported from WKMS: “the cut will encourage the development of mature oak-hickory woodlands, bringing the forest back to conditions of Pre-European Settlement.”

The problem is that landscape change is underway; but citizens are not getting the facts.  Different terms are used and are confusing the public.  The sign at Eddyville Ferry Road has been taken away.  Judge White quoted several news reports that have contradictory information; some say that 100,000 of acres in LBL are mismanaged, others say that nothing is being done outside the 8600, others say they are cleaning up damage from the ice storm, and other quotes state that they are making way for oak woodlands.

Judge White’s question: There is plenty of evidence that the Forest Service wants largescale landscape change.  People need consistent terms so they understand what is happening.  Is the Forest Service willing to admit that they are creating landscape change on Eddyville Ferry Road, Paradise Road, Demumbers Bay, and Pisgah Bay?  Is landscape change your goal?

RESPONSE: Tina Tilley – The Forest Plan does provide directives to move to pre-European conditions.  That doesn’t mean just oak grasslands.  There is not a plan to transfer all of LBL to oak grasslands.  She admits that they have not been clear with their terminology.  The Forest Service is committed to working with the public.  When they have a project, they need to publicize clear expectations so that outcomes are known.  They are going to continue to try to manage the forest, but also involve the public in that process.  That work will be done together.  Woodlands are different than grasslands.  The Forest Service needs the public’s help to tell them when they are not clear.  They need to understand the public’s concerns and involve them in the process of moving forward.

RESPONSE: Wade White – Another quote states that “40-60 trees per acre make a good oak woodland,” but later the Forest Service says “30-40 tree basil area is common in oak grasslands”.  So the difference of one tree can make the distinction between an oak woodland and an oak grassland.

Donnie Holland: (speaking on behalf of Hollis Alexander, County Judge Executive, Trigg County, KY)

Judge Alexander is deeply concerned about direction of LBL.  He has seen positives, but also an extraordinary amount of negatives taking place.  The heritage and culture of people whose land was stolen by a rogue government agency is not being addressed.  LBL needs private donations to preserve the historic buildings that are left before they are destroyed.  We need to end common terms like “give an inch, take a mile.”  It’s insulting.  We could say, “give the Forest Service an acre, they will destroy ten.”  The Forest Service needs to establish a heritage center, which has been discussed for 35 years.  We need to forget about abuses from TVA; today LBL is being abused by the Forest Service.  The Forest Service was viewed as a savior from TVA when the change took place, but now we are disappointed because you are destroying the resource.  You were given 8,600 acres to prove that this landscape will work.  Eventually you could grow that to 129,000 acres.  It hasn’t happened.  There is no data, no proof that it works.  Why are you venturing off 8,600 into Lyon Co, when you know this is a false representation?

Judge Alexander doesn’t want those policies implemented outside the 8,600.  The 8,600 Coalition will work with the Forest Service to create a new management plan.  The money the Forest Service spends on burning/logging can be used in other ways to make LBL a better place.

Finally, support other organizations.  Many acres of farmland are available (including 700 of his family’s farm) to help wildlife.  Leave the rest of the forest alone.  Timber has been taken off of LBL for 50 years.  Work with us all on new area plan.  We look forward to working with you.  The current Forest Service management has been more cooperative than any other management team in history.

Gerald Watkins (State Representative, Paducah, KY):

His father is from Lyon County and grew up Between the Rivers.  Many years ago Concept Zero persuaded the government to take management of LBL from TVA and give it to the Forest Service.  He has driven many miles through LBL recently; it looks like crap.  We want the Forest Service to honor the original promise and intent for LBL.  If the Forest Service can’t/won’t , it’s time for concept “no logging or clear cutting,” or take it away from Forest Service.  Give it to someone who will respect and honor its heritage.

Michael Pape (District Director for Congressman Ed Whitfield):*

Congressman Whitfield is participating in a vote in Washington, but wants to express his strong support for this process to resolve the long-term issues raised about LBL.  He appreciates all these citizens coming out and the energy they express for the issue.  It’s good to have dialogue.  He thanks the Forest Service for listening.  We must continue to talk about this issue.  Congressman Whitfield will be here this summer and may have additional meetings then.  The Congressman wants constituents to be happy with what we’re doing here and to honor the promises that were made when the land was taken.  He is looking forward to working with the Forest Service in the future.

*Comments were made at the conclusion of the meeting.

Public Comments:

Speaker #1: If you quote the Forest Service, do it correctly.  The Forest Service said 30 feet of “basil area” is oak grassland (amount of square acres that a diameter of a cut tree covers). You can’t say how many trees will result in a certain basil area. There is a lot of difference between 40 square feet of basil area and 40 trees.  He has experience with a timber company and is here with science and experience, but most people are here with heart.  He thinks that nothing will satisfy some people.  He’s used LBL; it’s a great place.  Just like in a garden, you have to take out the weeds.  Don’t handcuff the Forest Service and tell them what to do and how to do it.  Private land owners cut timber.  There are probably people here opposed to cutting at LBL that have cut their own timber for profit.

Speaker #2: He has used LBL throughout the years and has 25 years of working with private landowners; the Forest Service’s mission is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people.  The Forest Service should take care of everyone’s interest, not just one group’s interests.  All areas and interests need to work together.  If you just manage one area, you will have a stagnant forest that is not good for anything. It can’t go back to pre-European conditions because we’ve brought diseases into the forest that weren’t here then.  The Forest Service is a good steward of the land.

Speaker #3: This is public land, it belongs to all of us.  It makes sense to hold the Forest Service “in handcuffs.” If someone says they are going to do something, we have ample reason to challenge them.  She visited in 2009 after the ice storm and saw minimal clearing done then.  If it wasn’t necessary then, why is there a reason for cutting now? Is it legitimate?

Speaker #4: Her husband is the chaplain at Piney this week.  They have been coming to LBL for 40 years and have watched a lot of changes happen. First, the roads were gravely, narrow, etc.  They learned to love the straight roads.  Their daughter recently visited the 8,600, walked the trace, and visited several cemeteries.  She was in tears.  She doesn’t know a lot about the stats and numbers; but as a large family who visits regularly, she doesn’t want to see any more damage done to the LBL that they have loved for years.

Speaker #5: He was involved in Concept Zero, but they haven’t gotten anything accomplished with the Forest Service.  People who were moved out of LBL should be heard more.  We have meetings, say our piece, but nothing has been done.

Speaker #6: The number of visitors to LBL is 1/5 of what was projected.  Management has blundered dramatically if they want more visitors.  Obama is a supporter of global warming.  Trees help combat it, grasses after 2-3 years are CO2 neutral.  Burning contributes CO2.  If CO2 is real, what they are doing is stupid. It is obvious that there is a secondary agenda which won’t be good for the public.

Speaker #7: She is 12 years old and loves the forest.  She has always chosen LBL to camp, especially at Hillman’s Ferry.  She has seen Hillman and other areas of LBL decline for maintenance.  She loves exploring and hopes to bring her children here one day. (Speaker stopped because of emotion; had other opportunities to finish throughout the night but chose not to.)

Speaker #8: (previous speaker’s father) The Forest Service is destroying what she can have.  We have to preserve LBL for the next generation.  The logging has to stop, and heritage, recreation has to begin.  The Forest Service is out of control with an agenda no one understands or wants.  We have to start planning for the next generation.

Speaker #9: He was involved in Concept Zero, worked for the Forest Service as a volunteer, but is here tonight as a citizen.  He has traveled all over LBL, including the backroads.  He has seen logging, clear cutting, and it looks terrible.  The Forest Service should take care of the 8,600 and see what it becomes.  But expanding it all over LBL – NO.  Let one area develop and see what happens.  Clean up areas that have been logged so it can grow back trees and grasslands – whatever happens naturally.

Speaker #10: He grew up in LBL. There are lots of smart people spouting out numbers.  Trees produce O2, and we need to provide atmosphere.  Look at foreign countries who have cut all their trees; kids there are wearing air masks.  (some parts of speaking inaudible)

Speaker #11:  He grew up in Indian Mound, TN, in the south part of LBL.  When LBL was acquired, it was politics, it happened, and we have live with it.  He has had a lot of fun in LBL.  His main interest is motorcycles.  There are 2,500 acres in Turkey Bay designated for outdoor recreational vehicles.  It is not being used in the manner it was originally intended.  What was at first just motorcycles is now being used for rock crawlers, ATVs, 4-wheelers, etc.  The ground is chewed up.  The trail is worn out for motorcycles. He would like to have a new riding location with fresh land just for motorcycles. He gave several examples of riding clubs that work in harmony with Forest Service teams. There should be a happy medium.  Additionally, Turkey Bay is non-directional; you could have serious head-on collisions.  Motorcycle clubs would like to help develop new trails and are open to restrictions (closing when wet conditions, hunting season, etc.)

RESPONSE: He got a Forest Service personnel card to contact later.

Speaker #12: Several questions: Does the Wild Turkey Federation receive monetary compensation or other considerations?  How many acres of pastureland or farmland was in production when LBL was taken?  Is that enough to create your grasslands?  He disagrees with burning and clear cutting in LBL.  The burrs are too thick for wildlife to get through. The electric company had to come cut trees along the electrical lines.  The Forest Service has forgotten the promise; the focus was supposed to be environment, education, recreation.  They are a long way from there.

RESPONSE: Tina Tilley: To answer the question about amount of acres of pastureland, she doesn’t have exact acres, but the percentage of land has declined over time by 3-5%.  The Wildlife Turkey Federation is a partner of the Forest Service.  Their work is outlined in a local agreement with LBL and a national agreement; to partner is nothing new.  Mr. Lupardis is a NWTF employee.  The Forest Service does not pay him.  The Forest Service pays to NWTF for work that is completed on the ground.  Majority of staffing funds come from somewhere else.  The partnership with NWTF will continue.

Speaker #13:  He lives in Murray, KY but was raised in Marshall County.  The Turkey Bay collisions are because the Forest Service has choked the trails down.  There are more people on fewer trails.  He has been in LBL his whole life, back when they started charging for camping at $3/night, $2/night.  The land belongs to the people.  He was a Concept Zero member and knows lots of people who care about LBL.  He helped clean up a cemetery and St. Stevens Church. The people have taken these things back.  He fought TVA for 15 years, and now he is fighting the Forest Service. Mother Nature and God will take care of land management.  Native grasses that were here in the 1700s made a change for a reason.  There may have been buffalo and elk here; we should leave it alone and let it take care of itself.  Logging is an excuse to make money.  The Forest Service gets funding from camps, permits, etc; where does the money go?  Not to boat ramps, roads, backwoods camping areas, etc.  Piney, Energy, and Wranglers campgrounds are where the money comes in. Aurora is going to come back to life when the new bridges are finished. He appreciates the Forest Service listening and getting a better idea of what we want to see.  Previous Forest Service personnel never listened.  If the Forest Service would work with the people, I believe that we can get along.  They don’t have any idea about what was taken away.  We want to work together to bring it back to what JFK envisioned, a national recreation area and to bring money into communities around LBL.

Speaker #14: Speaker has talked to Ms. Tilley and others about the roads and cemeteries.  He remembers working with TVA; it was terrible.  How many thousands of snails have been killed  between Sugar Bay and Higgins? The shells of dead snails are an inch thick.  Once the fire goes over it, it’s dead.  He is an herb specialist and a heritage specialist. His dad was involved with Concept Zero.  He wishes the land was back with the people, but that’s not going to happen.  There have been many years of lies, but the truth is going to come out.

Speaker #15: The speaker gave some history about LBL.  The Gracey family from Lyon County visited the land between the rivers.  A daughter sent a letter in September 1879 and described LBL as “fine springs, wilderness of cane and timber.”  Open lands were “only what the Indians had cut away from the springs.”  She was “raised as children with Indians.”  The speaker pointed out that there were no pre-European grasslands.  The Forest Service is telling a lie.  They make lots of money on certain areas without doing their research. You say you lose money from cutting timber.  So where is the money coming from?  Why do you offend us with what we don’t want?  You assault us with fire/smoke after you run our families out? (speaker became agitated)

RESPONSE: Tina Tilley – Some actions in forestry are not done for just profit; some actions are for resource improvements.  The Forest Service wants to maintain healthy forests and a healthy habitat for wildlife.  They do try to go after fair market value for timber, but there is also value in resource habitat improvement.  Please take that into consideration.

Speaker #16:  First, just because you want to stop logging doesn’t mean you’re against land management.  Second, the Forest Service wants to manage how they imagine the past was and how the future will be.  The popular theory now is the oak hypothesis.  The science is open to debate and filled with contradictions.  The speaker has data.  Anyone can go to lots of old growth forests where you see mixed hardwoods and where you don’t need clear cutting, burning, etc. to create a natural character.  The speaker brought maples and elm branches.  The Forest Service’s rationale is that shade tolerant species will encroach in the forest.  He will walk anyone through areas of the forest, including Pisgah Bay, to show that this has not resulted.  He has visited 37 forest service districts; LBL has the heaviest oak/hickory component that he has ever seen.  He is requesting that the Forest Service reconsiders their hypothesis. Whatever basil area number they are using, it’s destructive.  He also requests that the Forest Service and NWTF reconsider their projects. Reconsider open habitats.  There has been a lot of talk about moving LBL out of the Forest Service to the Park Service.  He has tried to defend keeping LBL within the Forest Service.  We need to see a greater degree of professionalism. He has worked in over 12 districts.  There is professionalism here, but need more.  There are too many areas blacked out in the Freedom Information Act requests. When communicating with public, use common language.  Own your position.  Recognize that we’re not just a bunch of people who are operating with our hearts/guts.  There are generations of wisdom and collective history (no pines in most of LBL) and smart people who operate with their heads.  He is hoping that the Forest Service reconsiders the direction they are going in.  If you can’t prove that it works, no one will trust you to expand it.  We haven’t seen it yet.

Speaker #17: Last week, 4 generations of his family walked around Hematite Lake.  How much money does it cost to log, repair trails, etc. so my grandmother can walk the trail?  He’s seen changes, i.e. expensive natural toilets, places closed.  He can barely remember Silo overlook.  What about the education farm? How much money does it cost to operate that?  He wants to take his grandmother on the Hematite trail, but it is unsafe; there is water over the trail in some areas.  LBL has lots of interests: hikers, bikes, motorcycles, camping, some people just want to drive around.  Make it usable for everyone.  Some areas (such as the canal loop) are the best they have ever been because they have been maintained by non-Forest Service personnel.

RESPONSE: Tina Tilley: They are aware of the Hematite issues and are working with the Friends group to address those issues.  When we get dollars for LBL, they come with very specific purposes.  Whether they burned another acre or have a timber sale, those dollars can’t be used for recreation.  There are challenges with funding.  The dollars are not portable. LBL pulls in approximately $4 million annually. Those dollars get reinvested within LBL. She will post on LBL’s website where the money goes (she has shared this information with Judge White).  It includes recreation facilities, roads, and yes, some in timber.   (Question: Name one road you’ve done.) FS road 113 was blown out, so they replaced the culvert. They are working on FS roads 112 and 118.  She will also share a list of roads they are maintaining.  They are working aggressively with other federal partners to get additional dollars to repair roads and make improvements. (Question: What is the cost of one road?) She will have to talk to her engineer to get exact figures on the cost of a road.

Speaker #18:  The speaker is a retired wildlife biologist, 70 years old, and has spent lots of time in LBL.  He knows what animals need in a forest; it is like a family.  Early successional stage (i.e. nasty briars and thickets) support quail, rabbits, etc.  Seedlings (babies) germinate when the overstory is removed; they come to life and become saplings (toddler). The saplings support a certain ecosystem.  The pole stage (20-30 feet high) provides for deer and other certain niches of wildlife.  Saw timber (mature growing 18-36 inch trees) produces mast (seeds). These feed another niche in the ecosystem. The climax stage (nursing home) need help; they don’t produce mast, but take up all the sunlight.  They take up all the resources, but don’t support the wildlife at all.  If you want to see millions of dollars of resources go to waste, don’t manage it; let it all go to climax timber stage.

Speaker #19: Speaker is from Brookport IL and lived in Pope Co for 34 years.  The Forest Service is his neighbor with the Shawnee National Forest.  There, he has appealed most of the timber sales, but hasn’t been very successful. He has worked on Forest Service issues for years. The Forest Service is inconsistent; for years they tried to reduce fires with Smokey the Bear, but now they say they were wrong and fires are needed. Shawnee National Forest was clear cut, 5 counties passed ordinances banning it, and 20+ political leaders wrote letters to the Forest Service.  Their reason for cutting was to regenerate oak and hickory.  A researcher found that some oak and hickory came up, but also briers, tulip trees, maples, etc. If they wanted to reach their goal, they had to do additional land management. They had already clear cut 1,000s of acres of oldest timber in Shawnee.  The Forest Service used to issue reports (TSPURS) nationally an on individual forest level; the reports showed money that was spent/gotten from timber sales. The Washington Post would report on how much money was lost. The Forest Service stopped issuing the reports. Now, you have to do a Freedom of Information Act request.  It’s not easy to do those. The forms put you through hoops and redact stuff.  They say they are still losing money.  They say they have other purposes, but what are they?  Non–cash benefits? What was the value of the standing forest before you cut it?  Now, researchers are attempting to put a monetary value on forests (oxygen, how tree roots draw water, shade, etc.).  You don’t have a clue on how to value them.  You never see a number for these things on environmental studies.  When people say they are managing the forest for wildlife, there are hundreds of species.  Forest fragmentation is an issue; 20 years ago, students studied LBL and found there were serious concerns with forest fragmentation.  In big blocks of forest where you don’t see an opening, certain species live there, and it’s the only place they live. These species can reproduce successfully without problems.  Wildlife people don’t talk about this, they talk about turkey, deer, etc.  The Forest Service is prejudice against people who believe the forest can take care of itself.

Speaker #20: The speaker encouraged citizens to visit his website Bluegrasswoodland.com. The speaker had three suggestions: 1) Field trips – the meeting today is helpful, but have a monthly field trip discussion to talk about the forest, look at it, and connect those outings with school programs.  2) There is a better way to cut through the biology.  Here are three simple levels: a) protect and conserve the landscape, b) habitats, and c) species.  Which groups of species need micromanagement?  Deer and turkey are fine; elk and bison have their area. 3) We have to agree to disagree.  Several interest groups are involved.  Let different people try things and monitor it to see if it’s successful.

Speaker #21: This is a great night for LBL Heritage.  There are this many people concerned about this land!  During the time TVA had it, people didn’t know where cemeteries were or who was there.  This is a show of concern from the people.  This is America at work.  There is a lot of emotion, but he thinks it’s all about the heart.

Speaker #22: Speaker lives on Lake Barkley.  The biggest problem has been a lack of communication. The Forest Service can look at the hows, whys, whos, whats, what-nots, will bes, have beens, should bes, and haven’t beens.  But a failure to communicate is the main hindrance.  They should listen to a group that includes representatives from specific forms of recreation with an open quarterly meeting so more people can understand what is going on. This meeting tonight is a good omen.  The elected officials got this meeting together, and it’s a good start. Everyone needs to understand what the plans are going to be, and not blindsided or back slapped – keep things in the open.

Speaker #23: She grew up on the lake and now has a daughter who loves it. Question: If you don’t make money from selling timber, why do it?  Can we help volunteer to help clean up areas (such as Silos)?  She went to Empire Farm a year ago and cried because of its condition.  Her daughter will never have the experience of seeing the bees, workers in the fields, and buying wax candles.  Can people volunteer to help?  We love it, and we want to know what we can do.

Speaker #24: The speaker is a former resident of LBL.  She is angry that we have to talk about this.  She never thought she would be fighting for its existence.  We are wasting time in meetings; the Forest Service could use their time to work on LBL.  The Pisgah Bay project was not a very well thought-out plan.  It’s in place, and you‘re doing it.  Communication is key.  In early meetings, we were told that the Forest Service didn’t take homes, and they empathize.  But the Forest Service is taking the land now.  We want to work with you, but if you can’t do it, we want you to leave. We have no intentions of letting you burn more land, smother us with smoke, or cut timber.  What divides this group is who is making money from timber and who loves the land for what it is. We have told the Forest Service that what you are doing is wrong, but you can’t be stopped. But you will answer for it.  You are destroying what God has made.  We can find ways to make LBL what is should be.  Change the way you are doing things.  The work at Pisgah Bay has to stop.  If you can’t find a way to do that, we will help you pack.  We’ve had experience with that.

RESPONSE: Tina Tilley: I know you are speaking from you heart.  We want to work with you.  These meetings are a change in how we do business.  We want to be more involved with you and the community and how we get things done on the landscape.  Change is slow, but the Forest Service is committed.  It’s the right thing to do to work with you.  If we work together, have conversations about specific concerns (logging), go out together, we can find ways to work together. In the past, you feel that your comments were not heard. (Question: Why did you cut in the buffer zone?) It was a miscommunication. We want to move forward with you.

Speaker #25: The speaker is sympathetic with Ms. Tilley.  She didn’t write the Management Plan from 2004.  There have been multiple attempts to try and stop it (Concept Zero). The speaker was 10 when his family was moved out of LBL.  TVA said “We appreciate your sacrifice,” but they didn’t make a sacrifice – they were sacrificed.  The Between the Rivers people that are present tonight want LBL to be something to be proud of.  There is an argument that if you don’t log it, climax forest will take over.  That’s hogwash – it’s been forested so much there isn’t a tree over 70 years old.  Old growth forests in other places have open areas from natural causes. When you manage a forest, all you are doing is trying to increase game species.  An 8,600 tour is coming up; please see the flyer if you want to go.  The Forest Service wants to manage 170,000 acres, but they are not doing it.  They have 140,000 acres labeled as protected (core areas).  They don’t want you to know about them; there are no trails and no publicity.  There is a lot of diversity there; it’s the closest things to old growth forest.  He has taken people to see the core areas, and then the 8,600.  They are appalled at 8,600 but amazed by the core areas – they see deer, beaver, osprey, etc.  You won’t find that in the 8,600.  The speaker offered to take anyone to the quarries and the 8,600 himself.  High-end recreation is the Forest Service’s focus.  The 2004 Management Plan says that core areas are the least-desirable landscape, and the 8,600 (grasslands) is the most desired landscape. He agrees that there needs to be early successional fields.  There is a lot of open land in LBL (from power lines, farming lands) that can be used.  When nature manages the land, it’s free.  LBL is a recreation area, not a tree farm, and it’s not supposed to be one.  The Forest Service is not a good fit for LBL.  There needs to be an audit to determine where their income comes from and where that money is spent.  How much would it cost to manage LBL in the spirit of the original purpose, then write a new Management Plan with that focus?  Public input with the 2004 Management Plan was a joke.  If the Forest Service won’t do a new management plan, we will do whatever we can to get another agency to manage LBL.

Speaker #26: She is a descendant of LBL (both grandparents lived there).  In the last 20 years, her mom has watched generations walk through LBL and shown them where the family farms were.  She would like to see future generations be able to walk the trails and see the history there.  She loves the forest and doesn’t believe you have to destroy a forest to have a forest. The Forest Service needs to consider this: when TVA had the land, people were moved out, and it wasn’t successful.  So the Forest Service got LBL, but if you go in and burn away from 8,600 to connect plots, what if it doesn’t work?  Who will it go to next?  There won’t be anything to rebuild.  Repair the problems at Hematite Lake. Advertise it.  People will come.  Remember, if you burn it, it’s gone. There has been logging her whole life, but not clear cutting.

Speaker #27: She is not a former LBL resident, but remembers the pain people felt when it was taken.  She remembers driving around LBL knowing things would be underwater.  This is sacred, hallowed ground.  What the Forest Service is doing is wrong.  If you can, halt the timber contracts and stop the burning. When it’s gone it’s gone.  Do not let another tree be burned or cut. What these people had to sacrifice, you’re killing/murdering it.  God will prevail. Mother Nature will take care of herself.

Conclusion:

Jerry thanked the citizens for coming and participating in the listening session.  The next meeting is June 16, 6:00-8:30pm in Dover, TN at the Visitor’s Center.

Meeting adjourned at 8:35pm.

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