Friday, March 13, 2015

Marion County Landowners Meeting

Info from Tony Avery:

The Marion County Forestry Planning Committee will host a program for hunters and land managers on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at Oh Bryan’s Restaurant on Highway 17 in Hamilton Alabama at 6:30 p.m.  This is the same program that was cancelled due to weather last month.

Matt Brock with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries will update us on recent agencies information and recent regulation changes as well as Wildlife Management Area updates.

Matt Brock graduated from Mississippi State University in 2007, with a B.S. degree in Wildlife Science. He began his career with the MS Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries, and parks as a regional wildlife biologist, managing WMA habitat activities, public hunts, and assisting landowners with management activities. In 2011 he accepted a position with the National Wild Turkey Federation as a longleaf pine restoration and management biologist assisting landowners with longleaf pine establishment and management. Later in 2011, he began employment as the wildlife biologist on Black Warrior WMA with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. He is currently the wildlife biologist on Black Warrior WMA, Sam R. Murphy WMA, Fayette Public Disability Hunting Area, and Smith Lake Public Disability Hunting area, as well as the Turkey Committee representative for District 1. He resides in Double Springs with his wife, Kerin, and sons, Luke and John.

The meal will be Dutch treat. In order to better prepare for the program, please call the Alabama Cooperative Extension System office at 205-921-3551 on or before March 17, 2015 to indicate your attendance.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Minutes February Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council meeting was held at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs on February 19, 2015.  Present at the meeting were:  James Burnett, Mike Henshaw, Chris Erwin, John Creed, Carl Godsey, Allison Cochran, Andy Baril, Jody Tetlow, Rick Oates, Dave Casey, Johnna Franks, John Sudduth, Tony Avery, Travis McDonald, Kerry Clark, and Tripp Gaskin.  

The following subjects were discussed:
  • Chris Erwin, Director of Woodland Conservation at the American Forest Foundation, gave an overview of the Foundation's efforts to work with private landowners.  He also reviewed some of the efforts to educate landowners about the significance of shortleaf pine in the Southeast US.  Shortleaf pine has suffered a decline in it's historic range and prevalence in the Southeast and especially on the Cumberland Plateau.  To date, efforts to stem the decline include planting shortleaf on suitable sites, controlling invasive plants, restoring wildlife habitat, and streamside restoration.  Assistance to private landowners is available, and there is cooperation between the AFA, ACES, USFS, ATFA, AFC, and others.  Chris said that seven meetings to educate professional foresters have been held, including one in Cullman that had 75 foresters in attendance.  While shortleaf was historically widespread in Alabama, there will be two focus areas in Alabama for the educational efforts.  These are the Bankhead National Forest and the Skyline WMA, near Scottsboro.  These are areas where shortleaf has been planted and can serve as demonstration areas.  As part of this effort, a field day for private landowners, foresters, and loggers is tentatively planned for Monday, June 15, 2015, at Phillip and Djuna Wilson's Farm near Moreland.  This field day will be a team effort by the American Forest Foundation, the Bankhead National Forest, Alabama TREASURE Forest Association, and the Winston County Natural Resources Council.  
  • Rick Oates, ATFA, gave an update on the TREASURE Forest program.
  • Johnna said that the balance in the treasury is $6,757.22.
  • Tree Give-Away will be held on Thursday, February 26th. (note, this was postponed due to weather)
  • Dave Casey reported that the Secure Rural Schools funding was ending since it was not renewed by Congress.  These funds, which go to the Winston County Commission and Winston County Board of Education, will be cut sharply.
  • James gave an update on the severe weather forecast.
  • Tony said that Matthew Brock would present a program at the Marion County Landowners Meeting.
Mike Henshaw
Secretary WCNRC

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Road Conditions on Bankhead National Forest

Public Asked to Drive with Caution Due to Conditions on Bankhead National Forest Roads


(Double Springs, AL) March 2, 2015---- U.S. Forest Service officials are urging all forest users to limit their use of forest roads in the Bankhead National Forest.  If you need to drive on forest roads, please drive with caution for your safety and to reduce damage to the roads.  Forest roads were severely impacted by the recent snow event and freezing and thawing temperatures.  Heavy rainfall is predicted next week which will make road conditions worse.  Limited use is advised on all Forest Service roads.

“We are making every effort to ensure roads are safe and resources are protected,” said Dave Casey, district ranger for the Bankhead National Forest.  In some instances, when weather or road conditions cannot provide for safe use, or in periods critical to wildlife and other resources, roads may be closed temporarily. 

For more information about current road conditions or closures contact the Bankhead District Office at 205-489-5111 or the “Know Before You Go” section on the Forest Service website at

Owl Creek and Flint Creek Trail Systems on Bankhead National Forest Temporarily Closed

Owl Creek and Flint Creek Trail Systems on Bankhead National Forest Temporarily Closed to

Horse and Motorized Use 


(Double Springs, AL) March 3, 2015---- U.S. Forest Service officials have temporarily closed the Owl Creek and Flint Creek trail systems to horse and motorized use, effective March 3.  The unusual snow storm produced significant moisture when approximately 10 inches of snow fell on the trails.  Melting snow and recent rains have created saturated soils that are easily eroded. Both trails will remain open to hiking use.  As soon as conditions are sufficient to protect the trails, they will be opened to normal use.  Visitors can contact the Bankhead Ranger District for the current status. 

 According to Bankhead District Ranger Dave Casey, the soft trail conditions threaten the forest’s basic soil resource and can cause a hazard to riders in some places.  “We have recently invested substantial funds to improve the Owl Creek trail system and need sufficient time for the work to stabilize before horses and motorized equipment impact it,” said Casey. 

For more information about current trail and road conditions or closures contact the Bankhead District Office at 205-489-5111 or the “Know Before You Go” section at

Monday, March 2, 2015

Arbor Week Tree Give-Away

The annual Arbor Week tree give-away will be held on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at 9 a.m.  The tree giveaway will be held at the Alabama Forestry Commission's office at 225 Coats Street in Double Springs.  The office is located approximately .3 mile from the Winston County Courthouse, just off Blake Drive at the old TMA Sawmill site.  For more information call the Alabama Forestry Commission at (205) 489-5014.