Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

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#1)  Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby edfrank » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:30 am

Joyce Kilmer Forest Blown Up:  
http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/386029/9f4de3f7b7/1518000403/e22cafe9fd/#Destruction
Wilderness Watch - The Guardian - November 2010  •  Volume 8, Number 11

               
                       
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Last month we alerted our readers to the Forest Service’s (FS) plan to blow up old growth trees in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. The Forest is 3,800 acres of “perhaps the single most impressive growth of eastern virgin forest in the United States,” and is part of the 17,394-acre Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness in North Carolina and Tennessee. The FS proposed to make the area “safe” for visitors by blasting dead and dying old growth hemlock trees suffering from a woolly adelgid (an introduced pest) infestation. Unfortunately, the FS followed through on its plan and used dynamite and chainsaws to fell and dismember the trees, ignoring the Wilderness Act, along with strong opposition from Wilderness Watch and local activists.

Photos by David Govus


.
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#2)  Re: Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby dbhguru » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:50 am

Ed,

  I don't even know what to think about this action, let alone what to say about it on the BBS. It better be about public safety and only about public safety. What is unclear is if the FS actions were restricted to the trail corridors. I assume that to be the case. I hope so. If not, we have a real problem.  

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#3)  Re: Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby edfrank » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:05 pm

Bob,

I don't really have a comment, just passed on the information and photos.  At the time when someone first posted about it here I criticized the bureaucratic logic that decided that less intrusive chain saws could not be used in a wilderness, but that it was OK to use high explosives.  Especially when it can bee seen in the photos that logs were sawed, presumably by chainsaws, anyway in the aftermath of the explosives.

Ed
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#4)  Re: Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby James Parton » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:17 am

The whole thing is just so sad. It did not have to happen.
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#5)  Re: Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby AndrewJoslin » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:46 pm

Tricky subject, many hot buttons were pushed in the writeup on the Wilderness Watch web page. 150 dead (or dying) hemlocks were taken down along a trail. If this is a high use recreational day hiker trail then there is justification to reduce hazards. Crumbling dead hemlock along a heavily used trail sounds bad to me. I'm guessing (but could be very wrong) that dynamite was used to create more natural looking stumps and snags that would integrate better into the woods as they decayed. I imagine chainsaws were used to reduce and move logs off the trail. Politically/public relations-wise it sounds absurd to be using dynamite, I would be interested in seeing the Forest Service's detailed rationale. The real tragedy is the loss of so many hemlock to HWA in the east. Taking the devil's advocate role it appears that Wilderness Watch is milking it for the sensationally ridiculous appearance of dynamiting trees in important public forests. It looks like they take some great positions on wilderness preservation and enhancement but might have missed the mark on this one. More info is needed.
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#6)  Re: Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby Will Blozan » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:56 pm

Andrew,

You are basically right on the money with your comments. The real tragedy is that portions of this forest gem could- and should- have been preserved with insecticides. Yeah, I know that the products were not available for forest use until 2005 but that approval process alone more than likely could have been sped up. The USFS knew what was coming with regard to HWA devastation (in contrast to their official comments) and IF it was a priority to save them they could have. Even after insecticide approval the reponse has been (in NC) pathetic. Efforts are now being aggressively taken by the USFS but, opps, too late for the high priority/high visitation stands.

Unfortunately this will just be one of many, many stories about to unfold throughout the range of eastern and Carolina hemlock.

Adelgid kills.
You have to act.
We know what works.
We have the tools.
There is no excuse.

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#7)  Re: Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby Josh Kelly » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:10 am

Hey Folks,

I second Will's post.

I did some fact checking after reading the Wilderness Watch post by Georgia Forest Watch affiliates.   It is not very accurate.  Chainsaws were not used to clear dynamite-felled trees off of the trail - they were all cut with cross-cuts.   The Regional Forester signed a decision allowing chainsaw felling of two trees adjacent to the large steel bridge by the parking area.  The other 90 or so tree were felled with dynamite to give the "natural" look Andrew alluded to.  Trees that fell across the trail were sawed with crosscuts in accordance with the Wilderness Act.  

Nantahala National Forest was in a tough spot with this one.  The local hiking club that maintained the trail and is critical in supporting Wilderness additions in the area wanted the trees felled.  The Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan states that all Class 4 trails, like the Poplar Loop, must have hazard trees removed.   The Wilderness Act does not specifically bar actions in Wilderness that affect public safety, though maintaining a manicured trail through Wilderness does not fit with the spirit of the Wilderness Act.  

To me the real tragedy here is that this amazing hemlock stand was allowed to succumb to adelgid and there was never a plan preserve the whole grove, just a few piece-meal pockets on the trail.  The fact that Georgia Forest Watch affiliates have been up-braiding North Carolina forest protection groups over the incident because of our perceived lack of purity is particularly annoying.  I Think that North Carolina Forest Supervisor Marisue Hilliard summed up the entire situation well when she said, "It's really sad".

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#8)  Re: Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby bashfulbob » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:34 pm

Reference the Joyce Kilmer stupidity, the boys and girls have proven once again that they could screw up a one car funeral.

The big problem for me with the whole hemlock situation is how and why the governments, federal, state and local, who had around 90 years since the introduction of HWA in the west and 50 or 60 years in the east, did for the most part nothing until we have what we have today. And what are they doing today blowing up trees and telling us all we have to mobilize to save the hemlocks. It might sound weird but to me taking care of the hemlock situation before it got out of hand is the sort of thing that governments should be doing. And don't get me started on good ole former, thank god, Congressman, Charles Taylor.

I have watched my hemlocks and everyone elses die for the last five or six years. I have asked the NC forestry and other folks what if any options I had and was basically told a bunch of off the wall stuff, none of which fit my situation. Then I met Dan Miles in the GSMNP and in less that a week have been able to set up a way to save a number of my hemlocks. Can't save them all unless we get my rich uncle out of the poor house, but I can save enough to make a difference. No telling what I would have been able to do if I had know about Safari when it came out five years ago. Our had the resources that governments have.

Sorry for the rant, but it probably won't be the last.

BB
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#9)  Re: Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby RefugeRescue » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:36 am

Last week I visited Joyce Kilmer for the first time. I was shocked by the devastation. I greatly looked forward to wandering in the old growth, but the downed trees are so predominant, it was all we noticed. There is a park called Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland which contains the last 37 acres of old growth hemlock and white pine remaining in the state. It is a beautiful, quiet, majestic place. To think that those trees have numbered days and that nothing can be done is truly depressing.
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#10)  Re: Joyce Kilmer Aftermath

Postby edfrank » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:01 pm

Hello,

I have visited Swallow Falls several years ago, before I became involved with ENTS.  One of our members, James Robert Smith visited there a few weeks ago and posted bout it in his blog.  I posted links to these blogs here:

viewtopic.php?f=85&t=2174  

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