Logging returns to the Wayne

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

The cry of "Timber!" is once again echoing through the Wayne National Forest as logging begins once more in a 300-acre area near Five Forks.

In August 2004, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott issued a temporary restraining order against the Wayne National Forest that prohibited all logging and other ground-disturbing activities from continuing on four timber sales within Lawrence County.

The order was issued after a lawsuit was brought against the WNF and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in April 2003, alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Forest Management Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

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The forestry service contended that it followed all applicable laws and regulations. The judge has now had time to review the case, and has sided with the caretakers of the Wayne National Forest.

That means logging has returned to the Wayne National Forest, which couldn't make Ironton District Ranger Gloria Chrismer happier.

Thinning the forest not only generates revenue for the district, but is an important step of preserving forest health, she said.

"I'm glad to be back out there," Chrismer said. "I feel very good that our folks are doing a good job of following the environmental requirements. That's a good feeling to have the judge decide that.

Thousands in revenue from that logging will be now be flowing into the government again, 25 percent of that going to fill the coffers of Lawrence County.

Forest officials have wasted no time in beginning thinning once again.

A closure went into effect on July 22, which will allow trees to be thinned and removed in an area of 300 acres bordered by County Road 5 on the west, Marking Fork along the north, and the boundary of the forest along the southern and eastern areas along County Road 19.

The area will be closed to public use for several weeks to allow contractors to safely conduct operations.