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WNF project to clean, burn 3,000 acres

Around 3,000 acres of the Wayne National Forest will be burned and about half of that thinned, as part of the U.S. Forest Service's Buckhorn Restoration Project in Washington, Decatur and Symmes townships.

The project focuses on approximately 3,271 acres of forest that were damaged by the ice storms of 2003. Prescribed burning will take place on all of that land, and thinning will take place on 1,641 acres of that land.

The thinning and burning is an important part of maintaining tree health. Ironton District Ranger Gloria Chrismer said.

"It's a management activity on the forest," Chrismer said. "It's one way to let the trees that are out there get even bigger, because you're opening it up just a little bit, and the trees that are left are going to have more sunlight, more nutrients and more moisture because you've taken a few out."

However, some believe that removing trees for sale is something U.S. Forest Service should not be involved in. As a result, there is a 45-day appeal period for those that have concerns.

A written notice of appeal may be filed via mail at USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region, Mary O. Reddan, Appeal Deciding Officer, 626 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 700, Milwaukee, WI

53202. She can also be reached by e-mail at appeals-eastern-regional-office@fs.fed.us

In order to complete the project, which will take years to complete, rangers will have to reconstruct or reopen 19 miles of existing roads and construct of half-mile of road.

"A lot of people think that we don't need to be building new roads out there, so we try to keep our road building to a minimum," Chrismer said. "I think we've done that with this project."

Chrismer believes that the plan shouldn't have much trouble in the appeals process.

"It's a good one, it will improve wildlife habitat, it'll improve the health of the forest," Chrismer said. "That's one of the main things I'm looking out for is the health of the forest."