WINCHESTER (AP) — The National Forest Service has proposed allowing more commercial logging in the Daniel Boone National Forest than it has in over a decade.
The logging would take place on 3,515 acres in Pulaski and McCreary counties as part of a project that also entails controlled burns and other activities on about 15,000 acres. The Greenwood Project is designed to better manage the forest by improving wildlife habitat and forest health and would take several years to complete.
“The whole forest plan is based on improving wildlife habitat,” said Marie Walker, a Forest Service spokeswoman.
The Forest Service will consider public comments and do an environmental assessment before it releases a draft decision on work to be done in the project, said Tim Reed, the Forest Service district ranger for the area. He says trees will need to be removed whether they are sold for timber or not.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the proposal has prompted some concern and some support.
Kentucky Heartwood Director Jim Scheff said commercial logging carries risks — such as spreading non-native invasive species — and the Forest Service could accomplish its goal through less-invasive means.
“They can meet more ecological and habitat goals without commercial timber sales than with,” he said. “There’s just so many impacts with logging.”
Logging in the Daniel Boone National Forest has caused controversy for years. The massive forest covers more than 708,000 acres in 21 counties.
McCreary County Judge-Executive Doug Stephens says some local residents would oppose logging due to environmental concerns while others would support it.
“For the most part, most people will think it is good news,” he said. “The timber industry is a big part of our economic situation.”