Tags:From the U.S. Forest Service, Asheville: The Forest Service announced today it is working with the National Wild Turkey Federation to finalize an agreement for implementing the Mulberry Globe Stewardship Project on the Grandfather Ranger District near Blowing Rock. The Agreement will provide funds from a timber sale to be used for beneficial resource treatments such as improving wildlife habitat, controlling non-native invasive species, improving water quality in Boone Fork, and managing unauthorized motorized travel.
District Ranger John Crockett states, “We are looking forward to working with the National Wild Turkey Federation on a project that has so many benefits for forest resources and for forest visitors. The authorities that come with the Stewardship Program give us great flexibility to make this work affordable and attractive to non-profit organizations who wish to partner with us.” According to Dave Wilson, Director of Stewardship Services for the National Wild Turkey Federation, “The NWTF along with our volunteers and other conservation partners are excited about the opportunity to work with the Pisgah National Forest on the Mulberry/Globe project. Early succession habitat is a critical need on the forest and this project addresses that need as well as other important forest and stream health concerns.”
The Mulberry Globe Stewardship Project exchanges commercial timber receipts for service work such as site preparation to ensure regeneration of harvested stands, creating wildlife habitat openings, placing boulders to managing unauthorized vehicles, relocating trails that are causing resource damage, treating noxious weeds and restoring streams. The Forest Service convened several stewardship stakeholder meetings in 2009 and 2010, involving members of the Blowing Rock community; groups such as Wild South, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, and Southern Environmental Law Center; and agencies such as the U. S. Forest Service, National Park Service and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. One of the objectives of those meetings was to identify and prioritize the stewardship service work listed above.
Since a 2007 decision on the Globe Project, significant changes have been made in response to continuing concerns about protecting old growth forest and visual quality:
1. Ranger Crockett announced in a March 2010 stakeholder meeting that a 32 acre stand in the Globe sale, a portion of which may have old growth characteristics, was removed from the timber sale.
2. Timber harvesting in the Globe unit has been reduced from 212 to 137 acres.
3. Timber harvesting in the Mulberry unit has been reduced from 235 acres to 209 acres.
4. The logging system was modified on some units to include a forwarding technique to move logs to centralized locations, therefore requiring construction of fewer large log decks and temporary roads.
5. Temporary roads have been reduced from 1.5 miles to approximately 0.5 mile.
6. The need for any new permanent road construction has been eliminated entirely from the Globe unit.
While reducing the project’s visual impacts, project objectives will still be met by creating 346 acres of 0-10 year old wildlife habitat through two-age regeneration harvesting. Crockett adds “As we were designing this project on the ground in February 2010, we were cognizant of the visual concerns within the viewshed of Blowing Rock as well as visual impacts from Globe Road. No harvest units or landings will be directly on Globe Road.”
Additional details on this project will be released once the stewardship agreement with National Wild Turkey Federation is signed in the near future. The work is expected to begin in the fall of 2010 or spring of 2011.