Liaison Panel Meeting

Bankhead National Forest

Liaison Panel Meeting summary

December 9, 2004


Liaison Panel Members Attendees

Ron Eakes, ADCNR

Randy Feltman, Logger

Charles Bordon, Recreation User

Anthony Hood, Recreation User

Mike Henshaw, AL Extension Service

Vince Meleski, Wild South

Quinton Humphries, Winston Co. Commission

David Borland, TNC

Randall Lou Allen, Lawrence Co. Commission

Gene Gold, Blue Clan, Echota Cherokee

Jeff Still, Back Country Trail Riders

Mary Lee Ratliff, Recreation

Additional Attendees

L.C. Hall, Resident

Clark Herren NATRA

David Kelley, NATRA

Vernon Jay, Cherokee River Comm.

Gene Bagwell, Cherokee River Comm.

Stuart Horn

Devine Bagwell, Cherokee River Comm.

Scott Johannes, Cherokee River Comm.

Mike Bagwell

Joyce Bagwell

Ted Kuzma, Wild South

Hank Byrnes, Wild South

Sky Clark

Forest Service Attendees

Glen Gaines, District Ranger

John Creed, EIS Team Leader

Mike Cook, Resource Assistant

Meeting Agenda

6:30 Welcome and Updates Glen Gaines

6:45 Overview of Outdoor Recreation on the Bankhead Mike Cook

Discussion on Recreation Alignment

8:00 Recreation Program Priorities Liaison Panel

8:45 Closeout Glen Gaines

9:00 Adjourn

Welcome and Updates

Glen Gaines, District Ranger

Glen provided a brief update on the Forest Health and Restoration Project. The thinning of loblolly pine is continuing, with over 800 acres of work accomplished over the past year. The most recent timber sale sold last week and the next bid offering is scheduled for next Tuesday, Dec. 14. Longleaf planting for this year was completed last week. Shortleaf planting will begin in mid-January. The decision for FY2005 prescribed burning program is ready to sign and preparation of the areas will begin soon.

The analysis for the Leola Road paving project is continuing. The Alabama Historic Commission has requested additional information related to 20th century history of the road. That information is being gathered by Lawrence County.

Vince Meleski brought forward questions regarding the Holmes Chapel site preparation area for shortleaf pine. Vince said that during a site visit there on November 20th he had observed that chopping had occurred across ephemeral streams and on steeper slopes toward back of area – concerned about erosion potential; that areas near road culverts could be impacted by water runoff; asked if area had been monitored for erosion with heavy rains, and if the Forest Service was considering seeding the area. The area was monitored after the site prep burn. The burn was very successful and did not result in loss of litter or damage to soil. The fire lines were water barred and seeded, but there are not plans to seed the entire site prep area. A field trip for the public on January 18, 2005 was scheduled and a visit to this site will be included.

Overview of Outdoor Recreation on the Bankhead National Forest

Mike Cook, Recreation and Fire Program Manager, Bankhead National Forest

Mike made a presentation that provided an overview of recreation opportunities and the recreation program on the Bankhead National Forest and the recreation alignment. A hard copy of Mike’s PowerPoint presentation will be provided at the next meeting.

Mike provided an overview of Clear Creek, Corinth, Houston, and Brushy Recreation Areas; Owl Creek Horse Camp and Trail System; Flint Creek Multiple-Use Trail; Hurricane Creek Shooting Range; Natural Bridge Day-Use Area; Sipsey River Day-Use Area; the Sipsey Wilderness; and the Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area. Also discussed were the dispersed recreation activities that occur including hunting, fishing, nature viewing; camping; and canoeing. Mike provided information on program revenues and expenditures; accomplishments; and upcoming program goals. Information was provided regarding projected changes in population/demographics and the recreation demands related to these changes in the future.

As determined through recreation alignment for the NFs in Alabama the main emphasis for the Bankhead is trail-based recreation (primary), sightseeing (secondary), and to continue providing the water based recreation opportunities at Clear Creek, Corinth, and Houston.

Recommended Areas of Priority – Liaison Panel

The following are areas of priority suggested by the liaison panel and the attending public for further consideration by the recreation working group:

  • The development of additional trails to the existing system – to spread the use.
  • The development of short, interpretive nature trails near the road system
  • Manage illegal riding of ATVs
  • Expand capacity of Owl Creek, but do not upgrade.
  • Explore other opportunities for smaller camp sites around trail systems
  • Begin clearing the Sipsey Wilderness trail system

The recreation working group is scheduled to meet on Thursday, January 27, 2005. Jeff Still, Mary Lee Ratliff, or Mike Cook can be contacted for details about the meeting.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, March 3, 2004 at the Trader and Farmers Bank, upstairs meeting room in Double Springs, Alabama beginning at 6:30 pm. The panel will discuss priority areas of emphasis for the recreation program. The recreation working group will lead this discussion. Additional items to be discussed are proposed Walston Ridge Oak Woodland Restoration Project and mid-story treatment project for longleaf and shortleaf.

A field trip open to the public will be held on January 18, 2005. We will visit an area planned for mid-story removal as part of longleaf/bluestem woodland restoration; the Holmes Chapel site preparation for shortleaf/bluestem woodland restoration; and Compartments 15, 16, 17 Forest Health/Restoration Timber Sale.