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VIRGINIA NEWS & EVENTS

Get Involved in NFS Forest Management!

Learn how to become an active participant in Virginia's National Forest Management decisions to improve habitat for game and non-game species.

SAVE THE DATE:  15 March 2014
FREE Training Session
PLACE:  Raphine Fire Company, Raphine, VA I-81 Exit 205, west on VA 606 1.3 mi
TIME: 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Bring your own lunch or enjoy Ladies Auxiliary BBQ chicken dinner
Dutch treat $10.00 CASH ONLY payable at door, proceeds to the Fire Company

WHY- The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests (GWJEFF) have a very small acreage in young forests (early successional habitat) in the 0 to 20 years old.  This has resulted in dramatic declines in wildlife species that require thick, young vegetation to survive.  There are at least 65 species in the group that depend on young forests including ruffed grouse, woodcock, golden-winged warbler, woods turtle, whippoorwill, bobcat, and many others.  Much of the problem is lack of active forest management, mainly even aged harvesting on a regular basis across the GWJEFF.  Even though the Forest Plans call for a level of timber harvest annually, this goal is seldom achieved.  Part of this is lack of funding, but even when funded, the proposed projects are not completed due to appeals and lawsuits by citizen groups that object to manipulating forest vegetation.      

Aging forests dominate the GWJEFF) leaving an imbalance in young forests (0-20 years old).  In fact, the same concern exists along the entire Central and Southern Appalachians in USFS Region 8.  The stands of young forest (early successional forest) have a very high stem density (a thicket we’d rather not walk through on a leisurely stroll) and offers quality cover for breeding, nesting, rearing young and protection from predators.  Also, the variety of young forest plants adds to the food supply.  Hunters of game species and other non-game wildlife enthusiasts that use the GWJEFF have reported a decline of game and non-game species since the Forest Service drastically reduced active forest management.

John Coleman, Consulting Forester and Contractor to the Appalachian Mountain Young Forest Initiative, wants you and your organization to participate in an ongoing effort to be sure that the U.S. Forest Service hears your voice.  John will lead the training event and cover the new regulations that guide Forest Service management activities.  You will leave the training prepared to help others in your organization take an active part in the National Forest management process. The training will include a review of Forest Plans, the National Environmental Protection Act, the new requirements and procedures for forest management activities, and exactly how to become involved as an individual and organization.  Participants will also review sample Forest Service decision documents and learn when and how to offer comments and to be involved in project planning.  Representatives of GWJEFF will also take part in this training to be sure we are up to date in the fast and ever changing planning regulations.

The Virginia Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation State Leadership Team (Wayne Thacker, RMEF Eastern Virginia District Chair and State Leadership Team member) lends its support.  Members of the Ruffed Grouse Society, National Wild Turkey Federation and other outdoor organizations will attend.   Both John and Wayne encourage you and your organizations to support, participate in and apply training that will impact Forest Service decisions.

Without increased and continuing input from individuals and organizations in support of young forests, it is likely that the GWJEFF will continue to age and offer fewer and fewer acres of young forest habitat. 

Attend and participate in the 15 March training session, learn how to let the Forest Service know your thoughts about managing your GWJEFF, and learn how to teach others the same.  The 15 March session is our trial run; therefore, you will also be able to help us refine the training as we reach out to others.

Please let us know you will be attending by responding to:
youngforest@shentel.net
Please indicate in your response that you wish to purchase a Ladies Auxiliary Chicken Dinner at the Fire Company or bring you own

See www.youngforest.org for information on this effort to create and restore young forest in the eastern North America


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