How are proposed land management practices including logging, expected or anticipated to affect Land Between The Lakes’ core mission of environmental education and recreation? Positives and negatives?
Timber management activities create opportunities for wildlife viewing. The timber sale activities help with road maintenance, thus allowing for dispersed recreation opportunities such as hunting. With improved wildlife habitat conditions, the opportunity to utilize environmental education into the role of land management is increased. Restricting or eliminating the use of timber sales as a tool for land management could be perceived as having positive impact on visuals and noise.
Why Land Management?
The Land Between The Lakes Protection Act (Protection Act) directs us to:
“manage the Recreation Area for multiple use as a unit of the National Forest System. The emphases in the management of the Recreation Area shall be to provide public recreational opportunities; to conserve fish and wildlife and their habitat; and to provide for diversity of native and desirable non-native plants, animals, opportunities for hunting and fishing, and environmental education.”
Land management includes a wide variety of potential activates including but not limited to: timber sales, prescribed burning, wildlife habitat enhancement, soil and water restoration work, heritage resource protection, and infrastructure work
Eliminating these activities leads to mature canopy forest. Elimination of land management would likely decrease habitat diversity and decrease animal and bird species creating conditions less desirable to hunting and wildlife viewing. Mature and dense forests have a tendency to be more susceptible to insect and diseases.
Restricting or eliminating the use of timber sales as a tool for land management could be perceived as having positive impact on visuals and noise.
Roads and trails would become more shaded and slower to dry after rain and snow adding to maintenance challenges and funding concerns. Timber sales and wildlife management currently support the roads program with funding for maintenance.
Prescribed fire opens up the understory allowing more sunlight to the forest floor. Some threatened, endangered, or sensitive species found at Land Between The Lakes require habitats with more native grasses, plants, and wildflowers. Acorns and hickory nuts from an oak/hickory forest also promote some species of wildlife.
Managing smoke from prescribed burning is a concern. In the last couple of years we have tightened the parameters before we can burn. We now use smoke monitors to record smoke reaction to atmospheric weather and to help us make better decisions in the future.
The analysis of these activities directly supports surveys for the heritage program on the recreation area. Much of the area has yet to be surveyed.
There are a lot of opportunities to better incorporate environmental education into the role of land management. Better involvement with members of the public before proposals are developed will help prioritize these opportunities.
These are just a few broad effects of land management. Before activities can take place on the land, more site specific analysis will be completed. Better public involvement prior to the development of any proposal will help us identify potential concerns that will need to be addressed prior to making any decision.