Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bankhead National Forest News Release - Temporary Horse Trail Closure


Forest Service Temporarily Closes Portions of the Owl Creek Horse Trail System

 (Double Springs, Ala.) September 16, 2014 –
A U.S. Forest Service trail improvement project has temporarily closed portions of the Owl Creek Horse Trail System on the Bankhead National Forest.  For the next six months, portions of the Key Mill Loop that leads out of the Owl Creek Horse Camp along Forest Service Road 262 will be closed to the public for maintenance. 

 The trail improvement project will address important concerns regarding public safety and damages to soil and water resources along the trail system.  Signs will be posted at the Owl Creek and Pine Torch trailheads to indicate which section of the Owl Creek Horse Trail System has re-opened.

    “The safety of our forest users is always a priority, said Dave Casey, district ranger of the Bankhead National Forest. “Heavy equipment on the closed sections of trails could create a safety hazard for trail users. We’re asking the public to be patient during essential trail maintenance work.”

For more information about the trail closures, please contact the Bankhead Ranger District at (205) 489-5111 or visit “Know Before You Go” at www.fs.usda.gov/alabama to learn current forest conditions.

Minutes September Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on September 9, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Members present included LaVerne Matheson, Jeremy McDonald, Mike Henshaw, Andy Baril, Travis McDonald, and Allison Cochran.  Items discussed included:
Hamner Park Signage
  • LaVerne announced that Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Inc. will have a lake cleanup effort on Thursday, October 9 at 8:30 a.m.  Volunteers should meet at Lakeshore Inn.  There will be two or three barge type boats.  Anyone with smaller boats that can go into shallower water than the barges are urged to assist as well.  For more information, call LaVerne Matheson at (256) 747-4422.
  • FAWN program is scheduled for October 23-24, with a walk through on Wednesday, October 22.  Several details are being finalized, and draft program will be sent out soon to volunteers and to schools.
  • Hamner park has installed signage throughout the park about watersheds and water quality.   These signs were made possible by the Rock Creek Watershed Management Grant, the Town of Arley, and the Arley Women's Club.  LaVerne mentioned a Alabama Power Grant that might be an opportunity for the park as well.
  • There was a favorable article about the council in the Northwest Alabamian newspaper.
  • A letter about Professional Logging Manager (PLM) training was sent out by the Winston County Extension Office.  Andy reported on the recent Walker County meeting, and said the Walker County Forestry Planning Committee would like to partner on the next logger training program they do in 2015.  For example, the WCNRC could sponsor refreshments at the next meeting at a cost of approximately $250.  Allison noted that there is still a need for logger training since International Paper had formerly provided some training in North Alabama.
  • Travis said that 10 feral hogs were killed on the recent two-week special hunt.  That brings the total number of feral hogs killed on the Bankhead in 2014 to 226.  
  • Allison said that the Forest Lands Stewards Forum was promoting the planting of shortleaf pine.  They would like to provide educational opportunities for both professionals, such as loggers, foresters, and governmental employees, and another for landowners and the public.  Other topics such as prescribed burning and wildlife would be important to these programs as well.  Chris Erwin may attend a future council meeting see if we could partner to conduct these programs.
  • LaVerne commented on the Alabama Water Management Plan.  He said that there were over one million septic systems in Alabama, and that 20-30% are failing.
  • Andy summarized the TREASURE Forest program, American Tree Farm, and Forest Stewardship programs.  He said that the TREASURE Forest program is a priority of the Alabama Natural Resources Council.
  • Fire in the Eastern Oak Forests Conference will be held in Tuscaloosa on May 27-29, 2015, and may include a field trip in the Bankhead National Forest.
  • "Hooves, Horns and Claws" seminar to be held at Double Springs Municipal Building on September 23 at 7:30 a.m.  The seminar will review Alabama's animal and livestock laws.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary
WCNRC

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September Council Meeting

The September meeting of the Winston County Natural Resources Council will be held at 9:00 a.m., on Thursday, September 18, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  We’ll have draft programs of the FAWN schedules to review. 

Thanks,

Mike Henshaw, Secretary
WCNRC

Thursday, September 4, 2014

FAWN Dates - October 23 - 24, 2014

The FAWN dates have been set for 2014.  Meek, Double Springs, and Addison sixth grades will attend on Thursday, October 23, and Lynn and Haleyville sixth grades will attend on Friday, October 24.  Please mark your calendars!  Help us give these Winston County youth, our greatest natural resource, a great learning experience.
Sixth graders learn about boating safety from Coast Guard Auxiliary

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August Winston County Natural Resources Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs on August 21, 2014, at 9:00 a.m.  Present were Allison Cochran, John Creed, and Mike Henshaw.  Balance in the treasury is $8,865.40.  The following topics were discussed:
  • Dates for the FAWN program.  1st choice is Oct 9-10, 2nd choice is Oct 23-24, and a possible rain date of Oct 17.  Schools will determine the date and if they wish to attend.
  • Allison commented on the Buckmasters Expo in Montgomery.  She represented the U. S. Forest Service, and she said that Andy Baril was there representing Extension and the Auburn University School of Forestry.
  • Possible Fall 2014 Landowner/Logger training or field day.  The Council is willing to assist with local logistics including food, postage, meeting rooms, and equipment.  However, at this time, the council will need additional team member resources in order to conduct a training this fall.  
  • Possible tour or educational workshop in 2015 to focus on shortleaf pine establishment and management.  Interesting work is being conducted on this species here in the Bankhead.  
  • Resource Allocation Committee (RAC) Three council members have applied to be members on the RAC.  
  • Hamner Park in Arley is being updated by the Arley Women's Club, and part of the improvements will include signs about protecting watersheds and water quality.  The signs were provided through funds from the Rock Creek Watershed Grant.
  • Allison noted that the Department of Conservation, through the Hunter Education Program is promoting Archery Parks such as the one that is located in Cullman. 
  • The Bankhead National Forest has been awarded a grant through the National Wild Turkey Foundation to control invasive plant species on the district.
  • The Bankhead National Forest is supporting efforts to control wildfires in the western U. S.  The following district employees have been involved in this work and have traveled out west:  Kerry Clark, Craig Moore, Aaron Pirkle, Mike Cook, Jody Tetlow, Randall White, Gaylon McGraw, Lorenzo Walton, Dave Casey, and Brian Henley.
Mike Henshaw
Secretary