Wild places sustain and define us; we, in turn, must protect them.
Thursday, January 24, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at 2nd & Main in Corbin, 115 S. Main St.
Come learn about the proposed logging of up to 4,000 acres of public land in Laurel, Pulaski, and Rockcastle Counties. Presentation and forum to take place in Corbin to discuss the Forest Service’s proposed Pine Creek Forest Restoration Project on the Daniel Boone National Forest. The Pine Creek project proposes up to of 4,000 acres of commercial logging in addition to prescribed fire, pine plantings, non-commercial thinning of forests that were clearcut in the 1980s and 1990s, and other management activities.
This complicated project has the potential to benefit some parts of forest by implementing well-thought-out restoration efforts, while degrading other areas through heavy-handed and unneeded logging operations. The Pine Creek project was originally proposed in March, 2018. The release of the Environmental Assessment for the project, and an associated public comment period, are expected in early 2019.
This part of the London Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest, which follows the Rockcastle River from just south of I-75 to its confluence with the Cumberland River, provides for a wide range of recreational uses and has become increasingly popular in recent years. Decisions and commitments made by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the Pine Creek project will set the management direction for this section of the Daniel Boone National Forest for many years. Public input is important.
The presentation and forum will take place on the evening of Thursday, January 24 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at 2nd & Main in Corbin, located at 115 South Main Street.
This event is free and open to the public.
Click here for more information about the Pine Creek project, including maps and links to Forest Service documents.
For more information email email@example.com, or call (859) 334-0602.
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New Executive Order directs U.S. Forest Service to increase logging on national forests
On December 21st, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order directing the U.S. Forest Service to expedite logging on our national forests, and to increase the volume of timber harvested to 3.8 billion board feet – a 31% increase over 2017 harvest levels. While the order appears, on its surface, to be a response to recent wildfires in California, it goes well beyond that and could have implications for our national forest lands nationwide, including here in Kentucky.
Unsurprisingly, the order doesn’t acknowledge the influence of climate change in the severity of recent wildfires in the western U.S., nor does it address costly issues stemming from growing development in fire-prone areas. Most importantly, however, the order fails to provide funding or other meaningful support for non-commercial thinning and restoration work that can, in the right places, help to restore lands degraded from past logging. Instead, the President has directed the agency to quickly increase the volume of timber cut and sold from our public lands.
In Kentucky, we may see this filter through to the Daniel Boone National Forest, and potentially Land Between the Lakes, in the form pressure on local agency staff to approve more and larger timber sales - and to do so with expedited environmental reviews and abbreviated opportunities for public input. We suspect that this is already happening internally, but the Executive Order provides another formal mechanism to satisfy logging interests. At this time on the Daniel Boone National Forest there are roughly 8,000 acres of proposed logging in various stages of analysis, with Environmental Assessments for both the Pine Creek and South Redbird projects, and Scoping for the Blackwater project, expected in early 2019.
The Executive Order dovetails into the Forest Service’s ongoing Environmental Analysis and Decision Making (EADM) process that will include a revision of its regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Among the anticipated regulatory changes through the EADM will be to preemptively label most logging projects as non-significant actions that are exempt from most environmental analysis and public input, under what’s called a Categorical Exclusion (CE). The new Executive Order calls for the Forest Service to use “all applicable categorical exclusions set forth in law or regulation for fire management, restoration, and other management projects.”
Notably, sweeping legislative changes that would have allowed most large timber projects to be exempted from review under a CE recently failed passage through the 2018 Farm Bill. Provisions that would have allowed logging projects up to 6,000 acres under a CE had passed the House version of the Farm Bill, but not the Senate, and were ultimately rejected in the Farm Bill conference report. Nearly identical language passed the House in 2017 as part of the Resilient Federal Forests Act, but was never introduced in the Senate.