The following contains meeting notes captured during the Fox Hollow public meeting on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.
The Fox Hollow meeting convened at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at the Forest Service Administrative Office located at 100 Van Morgan Drive, Golden Pond, KY 42211. The meeting was open to the public: Sixteen 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
- Jared Baker, Budget Officer
- 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 to look at the maps and aerial photos 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:
- Resident of Trigg County now although not a former resident; serving 2nd term on Land Between The Lakes Advisory Board; emotions about management; here to focus and listen so as to represent the interests of the public
- With Kentucky Fish & Wildlife; Land Between The Lakes Advisory Board member since 2009; from Murray; interested in turkey and deer hunt collaboration
- Concerned citizen; does not agree with Between the Rivers Former resident
- Happy to hear about the passion for this area; former resident; Land Between The Lakes Advisory Board member since 1999; wants to see progress can’t point to a lot so far; concerned about the deer; the old home places aren’t being kept open enough; the ponds are ignored; care of the land isn’t all this it could and should be; hoping that we’ll see things come out of these meetings; things haven’t changed; wants to see some action; everybody is interested in seeing that this land is protected; opposed to burning in the woods; can’t convince her that trees killed and wildlife being injured doesn’t make sense in her opinion
- Care of the land; keeping of the promises; history has been ignored; the public would be interested in history of this area; former iron industry; loves the land, trees and wildness of it; loves this place; Between the Rivers maintains cemeteries back to TVA
- Grew up on the north end of Land Between The Lakes; has a lot of concerns; disappointed to response to monitoring; need to deal with heritage; offered geocaching to public without consulting with Between the Rivers folks; who’s heritage is it; looks like a plan and not an exercise; hopeful for change; building trust isn’t working
- With Backcountry Horsemen group; improvements at Wranglers; has degree in Agriculture; need water and food for all varieties of wildlife; deer, squirrel, quail and rabbit; hunter
- President of Land Between The Lakes Association; wants to hear what the public wants
- Hunter; has been hunting here for 14 years; problem with diseased deer; hog problem; waterholes are filling and it’s affecting wildlife; wants to help wildlife improve; plant stuff for turkeys; hunting helps the economy
- From Alaska; has been hunting here for 5 years; diseased deer; deer population down; wants to see antler restriction; waterholes need to be dug a lot deeper; saw 30 hogs at the south end; hogs wallow
- With TN Fish & Wildlife; spent career in fisheries; was fisheries intern and lived at Brandon Spring
- With US Fish & Wildlife; here to provide support and assistance to the Forest Service
- With Land Between The Lakes Association; from Calloway County and went to Murray State; wants to be sure that the history of this place isn’t forgotten; work with all interest groups
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:
- Heritage should be one of the first decisions that should be made.
- Habitat destruction is an issue. Invasive species of plants and animals are a problem.
- Do we need to know what we have? Will the public have access to the survey work that’s being done?
- Before we consider moving forward with a project we would do surveys. The landscape is always changing. We’re looking at using Citizen Science to help with data collection.
- Seems like you’re asking us to make a plan for you.
- We’re trying to recognize opportunities. This may or may not result in a project. This is a chance for your voice to be heard. Also, this is your opportunity to help define what parameters we need to be in so that it will be culturally acceptable.
- Need to find a way to deal with the wild hog problems/population. How do we fix something that TVA ignored?
- If a profit isn’t made you won’t do the work. If we get hung up at Fox Hollow then nothing will be done at Land Between the Lakes
- Do you have the funds? Evaluate what you have. Don’t start what you can’t finish. Cemeteries and roads are a mess and not taken care of.
- If road #380 isn’t going to be maintained then just close it.
- Pines were planted that had never been here before. Don’t replace loblolly with short leaf pine. I dislike pines.
- Pines don’t die off.
- Are we still planting pine trees here?
- Yes, some.
- Describe the Fox Hollow area.
- It’s approximately 500 acres of undeveloped land with some undisturbed habitat and a few roads. This is an opportunity for you to tell the Forest Service how you want this land managed.
- We need fire roads and roads with good foundations. When was the last time you had a wildfire here?
- Just within the last two weeks. The wildfires here are different from the fires out west.
- Are non-hunting management practices available to deal with the hogs? i.e. trapping Get loblolly out and replace with native plants, shrubs and grasses.
- Clear it out and then you won’t have the annual expense. Remove the pines and plant something that’s going to reproduce.
- If nothing is done the landscape will still adapt and change on its own.
- Sometimes you have to do nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is the right thing to do. The 8600 demonstration area failed.
Below are the potential opportunities that were identified for Fox Hollow:
- 1st step is to identify heritage locations
- Invasive species (what’s there/how do we get rid of)
- Is there an inventory of all species within LBL?
- Take into consideration landscape health in light of current and future stressors
- Designated spots to park for hunting/camping o Maintained roads for hunting/cemetery access o Pines should be replaced with hardwoods
- Clear-cutting/burning loblolly pines
- NO Pines
- Dredging out ponds and waterholes
- Very selective burning to benefit wildlife
- More open fields are needed as food plots
- Is there a native species that is quick growing to replace loblolly pines
- Planning tools to consider/identify species of concern
- Hogs need to be removed
- Take loblolly areas and replace with clover
- Could open up old farms/restore the fields
- More information about backpacking/backcountry camping
- Establish food plot
- Consider current and future funding and staffing levels
- Volunteer groups to assist with projects?
- Must be sustainable
- Involve people in the heritage study
- Inventory of ponds
- Provide gravel road access to fishable ponds
- What is the cost of doing nothing?
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.