The U.S. Forest Service is developing plans to advance upland oak and shortleaf pine forest structures by thinning trees on 4,469 acres and conducting multiple prescribed fires on 5,160 acres of the Pisgah Bay Project Area at Land Between the Lakes.
Last Thursday, The Pisgah Bay Interdisciplinary Team led the public on a tour of the area to detail their plans, which include improving roads, rerouting 2.7 miles of the North/South Trail, and reducing invasive plant species. The project aims to promote forest health and improve visitor experience. Popular recreation areas within the project area include the North/South Trail, Hillman Ferry Campground, Hillman Heritage National Recreation Trail, Star Camp, Pisgah Point, Birmingham Ferry, and Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway.
Attendees voiced concern for the impacts of prescribe fire smoke on surrounding counties as well as worry for the effect of some proposed management techniques on the environment. Forester and team leader Dennis Wilson says the project team held the meeting to foster dialog between the public and the Forest Service.
“We want the public on our side. We want to build that trust factor with the public, and I think by having these public meetings, and to show that everyone at Land Between the Lake is very passionate about their specialty and what we do to the landscape and how, and how it’s perceived. I want the public to come out and visit and ask questions and really try and understand what we’re trying to do to the landscape.”
Though the scoping comment period for the project ended April 21st, the Pisgah Bay Team invites the public to submit comments about the project at any time.
Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.