Urgent Call For Chattahoochee National Forest, Cohutta WMA Hunters
To improve public-land mountain hunting, hunters need to share comments with U.S. Forest Service by Dec. 1 deadline.
Hunters still have a chance to make comments that could lead to improvements to habitat and an increase in wildlife populations on 143,419 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest (CNF) and parts of Cohutta WMA, an area known as the “Foothills Landscape.” Comments can be made at two upcoming U.S. Forest Service meetings or by going online to www.tinyurl.com/FoothillsLandscape.
“Hunters are typically reactive instead of proactive, so it’s important for them to attend or make an online comment in order to have a say so in the future of these pieces of properties,” said Kevin Lowrey, a WRD wildlife biologist out of Gainesville. “We’d like to see an overall improvement in habitat and an increase in game populations, but that won’t happen unless hunters show up or go online and share their comments.”
Suggested comments that could improve wildlife habitat and hunting opportunities include:
- Ask for higher game populations
- Ask for more early successional habitat (timber harvest)
- Ask for more habitat diversity
- Ask for more/better access to the forest
- Ask for more prescribed burning
- State that the more than 116,000 acres currently designated as Wilderness Area in Georgia is enough
- State that too many Roadless Areas and Scenic Areas hinder good science, forest management and wildlife management efforts
In many sections of the Foothills Landscape, there has been a “hands-off” approach, which is influenced by environmental groups and uninformed people who not want any timber management at all. This “management by aesthetics” philosophy—because a timber cut looks bad—ignores good science. A more hands-on approach allows for better habitat, which yields a healthier forest, higher wildlife populations and better hunting.
The last two U.S. Forest Service meetings are as follows:
Saturday, Oct. 29, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center
2020 Clean Water Dr., Buford, GA 30519
Tuesday, Nov. 1, 6-9 p.m.
Cohutta Springs Conference Center
1175 Cohutta Springs Road, Crandall, GA 30711
Online comments at www.tinyurl.com/FoothillsLandscape must be made by Dec. 1, 2016 in order for them to be involved in the initial planning phase.
Mike Brod is the Fire and Natural Resources Staff Officer for the Forest Service Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests.
“We are looking to work with the public to hear what they would like to see accomplished in the project area,” said Brod. “The hope is that it will include wildlife habitat treatments, soil and water quality treatments, as well as other treatments for forest health, and maybe even some recreation management activities.”
The public engagement process will be occurring for the next several months, and project implementation should begin in 2018.
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