Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield met with county and Forest Service officials today to discuss the ongoing logging controversy at Land Between the Lakes. Last Tuesday the Forest Service announced plans to temporarily halt timber harvest sales and to modify existing logging contracts in the area after 3 months of public opposition to the land management technique.
After receiving many notes of concern regarding logging at LBL and a visit from county officials, Whitfield traveled to the LBL to speak with Area Supervisor Tina Tilley for a tour of the LBL.
“I was taken aback by the amount of logging that has been taking place over there," Whitfield said. "And we all do understand that there has to be a certain amount of logging for damaged trees, whatever, whatever. But it seemed excessive to me just on a visual tour."
LBL Forest Service Spokesperson Jan Bush says paper work is making it's way through Forest Service Administration to modify existing contracts to keep a buffer area of 100-150 feet around the Trace byway from being logged. Though the contract modification has not yet been officially approved, Bush says the loggers are honoring the change.
Whitfield said he is satisfied that Forest Service officials are sincere in their actions to reevaluate timber harvests and engage the public.
“LBL is a unique resource. People were moved off that land involuntarily during the Kennedy Administration. So, it’s something that I’m very sensitive about because of the resource itself and the way it was taken from private landowners. So, I hope that people will be satisfied with this development but we’ll see,” Whitfield said.
The Forest Service will begin conducting public meetings in May to discuss possible alternatives for the Pisgah Bay project that has generated public concern. That existing plan includes plans for logging and burning.