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June 2012
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LBL eyes tree thinning, burns in Pisgah area


The U.S. Forest Service managers of the Land Between the Lakes are proposing a major habitat improvement project in a 5,160-acre swath surrounding Pisgah Bay in the northern LBL.

Public comments are being accepted on a plan that includes thinning timber, repeated prescribed burns and herbicide treatments to reduce the spread of non-native plant species in areas inland all around Kentucky Lake's Pisgah Bay, including Hillman Ferry Campground on the northern side of the embayment.

The Pisgah Bay Project area is bounded by Forest Service Road 106 and The Trace on the north, FSR 129 and 310 as well as The Trace to the east, and FSR 306 to the south.

Much of the area was brutally battered by the 2009 ice storm, with high percentages of tree damages â “ 45 percent or more â “ that left downed trees, hanging limbs, dying trees and an excessive collection of broken tree debris on the forest floor.

Along with the ice storm leftovers, the area has slipped into a situation in which mast-producing oaks and hickories are regenerating poorly, most of a secondary, understory of younger trees being dominated by maples and other species that are less desirable because they pose leaner wildlife habitat.

The proposed multiple controlled burns in the area would both reduce dead debris left over from the ice storm and promote regeneration of oak and hickory trees. Thinning of the existing canopy by removing some trees also would stimulate the growth of new trees valuable to wildlife by favoring the shade-intolerant oaks and hickories, say LBL managers.

Another part of the project, say planners, is preparation of some habitat for the regeneration of native shortleaf pines with burns, thinning and the reduction or eradication of some competing non-native plant species.

Along with the habitat-specific work, managers want to do improvements on 31.7 miles of road in and along the project area. Plans also are to re-route 2.7 miles of the North/South Trail within the project area to decrease erosion and other degradation along existing segments.

Managers say removal of fallen woody debris and improvement of wildlife habitat quality would upgrade hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, backcountry camping and scenic driving experiences throughout the project areas. Visitor experiences at Hillman Ferry Campground, Star Camp, Pisgah Point and Birmingham Ferry â “ all within the project area â “ would benefit, they say.

An extensive look at the proposal for the Pisgah Bay Project is provided on the website www.LBL.org under the projects tab.

Comments from the public will be accepted through April 21.

Written comments by mail should be sent to Tina R. Tilley, Area Supervisor, Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, 100 Van Morgan Drive, Golden Pond, KY 42211. Written comments can be hand delivered to the LBL office at Golden Pond during regular business hours.

Comments by e-mail should be sent to comments-southern-land-betweenlakes@fs.fed.us.

Those seeking more information on the project can contact LBL forester Dennis Wilson by e-mail, denniswilson@fs.fed.us or phone, 270-924-2070.

n It's the junior hunters who get the first go at spring gobblers next weekend with arrival of Kentucky's statewide youth turkey season, April 5-6.

Youngsters age 15 and younger get two days of early hunting, the state's first opportunities of 2014 in pursuit of turkey gobblers using shotguns or other legal weaponry. Adults have to wait for the next week for the start of the regular spring gobbler season. It runs April 12-May 4.

Adults can take part in the youth hunt as assisting overseers. Indeed, each youth hunter must be accompanied by an adult, someone 18 or older, who must remain in a position to assume control of the youth's shotgun. The adult can help with equipment and can do the turkey calling. The youngster has to do the shooting, if any, of course.

Those kids ages 12-15 who take part in the youth turkey hunt each must have a junior hunting license and a junior (or regular) spring turkey permit. The junior versions sell for discounted prices. The junior hunter also is required to have completed and be certified from an approved hunter education course â “ or have the one-time hunter education exemption, available from license vendors for $5.

Kid hunters younger than 12 must be supervised in the same manner, but they are exempted from hunter education, license and permit requirements.

The bag limit for the youth turkey season is the same as adults. The seasonal limit is two turkeys â “ gobblers or turkeys with visible beards. (Bearded hens are OK, but they had better have the chest-sprouted hair tufts known as beards if they're female turkeys.)

A hunter may not take more than one turkey in a day's time. Each turkey taken, too, must be reported to Telecheck, the bird registered via the toll-free, call-in information system at 1-800-CHK-GAME or 1-800-245-4263.

Turkeys cannot be hunted over corn or other types of bait.

Before the youth hunt â “ and again before the regular season begins the next weekend â “ it is illegal to make turkey calls in any area open to turkey hunting.

n Dustin Johnson of Graves County High School arrowed the overall top score and won the high school boys' division of shooting in the recent 2014 National Archery in the Schools Kentucky State Championship.

Johnson shot a 298 out of a possible 300 to best a record field of 4,172 student archers competing at the Louisville International Convention Center.

Meanwhile Trigg County High School's squad of shooters placed first among all teams in the high school division. Trigg's middle school team was third in the middle school division of competition.

Among high school girls, Shaye Patterson of Trigg County was runner-up in individual competition. Patterson shot a 291, trailing eventual high school girls winner Payton Lykins of Henderson County High School, who compiled a 296 score.

Trigg's Evan Smith shot for a score of 295, good for third place among high school boys.

Marshall Evans, a middle school division shooter from Trigg County, won boys' middle school honors with a 293, the top score among 906 shooters in his division.

Another Trigg middle school archer, Kaylin Smith, took second place among middle school girls with a 289 score.

The division winners and winning team members get to compete in the NASP Nationals at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville in May.

Steve Vantreese is a freelance outdoors writer. E-mail outdoors news items to outdoors@paducahsun.com.

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