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Buckeye Habitat Project canceled

A proposed Wayne National Forest project that prompted protests from a number of neighbors to the forest won’t happen.

“The Buckeye project was to do a lot of thinning,” Lawrence County Commission President Les Boggs said at Thursday’s commission meeting. “We would call it clear cutting. The way it was laid out, it would affect a lot of businesses. We publicly opposed it.”

Then Boggs read a letter from Tim Slone, Ironton District Ranger, that the clearing project was canceled.

“The Wayne National Forest has recently enlisted the help of a neutral third party on steps we might take to improve relationships with a broad range of our neighbors, including private landowners, communities, citizen interest groups and other governmental entities,” the letter states. “To focus on these important efforts, I have decided to not move forward with the Buckeye Habitat Improvement Project and will remove the project from the Schedule of Proposed Actions.”

The project was advertised as a way to create diverse wildlife habitats, create hardwood and pine forest through logging and prescribed burns.

One of the most vocal opponents to the project has been Jill Romanello, co-owner with her husband, Rick McCleese, of the Elkins Creek Horse Camp. Romanello contended the project would destroy scenic parts of the forest and seriously harm businesses.

She campaigned for support to stop the project from the county commissioners.

At the meeting commissioner Bill Pratt cited her work as the driving force for the turnaround by WNF.

Boggs also said he would like the county to put up a memorial marker at the site of the former Union Furnace following Ohio University Southern professor David Lucas announcement that the actual site had been found.

“This is what started it all in the Hanging Rock region,” Lucas said. “This was the start of the great industrial revolution. Union Furnace was the beginning of it all.”

The remnants of the furnace are at the end of Rock Hollow Road and was in operation from 1827 to 1850s. The furnace typically produced iron implements and only was in pig iron production on Sundays.

In other action the commission:

• Continued to table receiving information about the permit for DM Mining operation on Hog Run Road until receiving written comments from county engineer Patrick Leighty;

• Approved the donation of sick time from one county employee to another;

• Met in executive session with Terry Porter, director of the department of job and family services.