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 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

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. 


Mike Henshaw, Secretary

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