Members of the community have posed questions about the Jellico Mountain Project that we would like the U.S. Forest Service to answer.
When evaluating how much mature forest to cut, did the USFS consider the entire ecosystem surrounding the national forest? Did the USFS take into account that most private land has been logged, is immature forest already or is cleared land?
Will local logging and survey companies have a chance to benefit financially from doing this work? How else can the community benefit from this project?
Why is 1,000 acres being clear cut and why is so much of it on mountain tops? Aren’t the terms “2 aged shelterwood” and “deferment harvest” also called “clear cut with reserves”? Doesn’t this mean that almost 5,000 acres of the total 10,000 impacted acres are some form of clear cut?
I would like the USFS to consider local county road damage by log trucks, equipment movement, etc. Over the last 30 to 40 years, Whitley and McCreary counties have taken advantage of state and federal road programs to blacktop the vast majority of their rural roads. These roads are fine for typical local traffic. But, heavy log trucks and associated equipment will damage these roads. Good blacktop roads protect the local streams vs dirt or gravel roads. This is an important topic that needs consideration. The USFS timbering operations are subsidized by the tax payers (the USFS existence depends on it). The local roads are a subsidy as well.
I am very concerned about flooding as we have had close calls before and some of our communities experienced sever damage in July 2022. With the trees gone it only makes it worse. My question is how does the USFS plan to not add to the flooding problem we have in these communities that are surrounded by these steep mountains?
Out of concern for honey bee colonies and other wild pollinators, how much herbicide will be applied and using what methods and when? Will we be notified prior to spraying so we can lock our bees in so they are not killed by herbicides?
How will the parcels be logged? Will multiple parcels next to each other be logged all at once, even if they are being logged using different treatments?
Will logging debris be hauled away or left on the forest floor?
Will national forest land be surveyed prior to logging and by whom? Will bordering landowners be responsible for ensuring the US Forest Service does not log over onto their privately owned land? Is the latest survey with national forest corners available online?
Will any new roads be built? How will each of the parcels in the plan to be logged accessed?
Will new skid roads to pull out the timber be built?
How will the US Forest Service make sure that residual trees left as part of the 2 aged shelterwood and deferment harvest are not damaged by falling trees and their roots damaged by heavy machinery?
How have endangered species been considered in this logging plan? We are not seeing anything mentioned in the scoping documents about how this plan will avoid further endangerment to the Cumberland darter and the backside dace.
How will landslides such as what has occurred in the South Redbird project be prevented here on our steep mountain slopes?
How were the ecological services (water purification, erosion control, flood prevention, CO2 sequestering) quantified as benefits in this plan? What dollar value was placed on these services and how does that compare to timber sales?
The USFS timber production operates at a significant loss and is therefore subsidized by taxpayers. At the same time, the surrounding communities pay the cost of degraded environmental systems. How is this justified?
Why are mature forests not considered more valuable than young forests and therefore left intact, given that mature forests provide significantly higher ecological services and are therefore of higher value?
Why are there no controlled burns in this plan?
Why was the request of Kentucky Heartwood to designate 270 acres above Emby Moses Rd as second generation old growth ignored? Why are the eight 143 to 222+ year old trees at the top of that ridge line in an area to be logged? Why are these mature trees not being left for future generations? How can more mature second generation old growth be preserved if the USFS keeps cutting them down?
Is this part of the US Forest Service considering the US Forest Service “Forests to Faucets” program which shows the area of Wolf Creek and Little Wolf Creek to be the 81st out of 100 most important sources of water for the municipal water supply of Whitley County? https://storymaps.arcgis.com/collections/4e450a6c7ed24f0cbae4abc1c07843b7?item=2
How much worse will flooding be in the Little Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek area once the clear cutting and logging occurs? On July 31, 2022, this area experienced the worst flooding in 100 years.
Please contact us if you have additional questions to add to this list. All questions are welcomed!