US Forest Service accused of illegally selling lumber in Kentucky

On April 27, the Kentucky Resources Council sent a letter on behalf of Kentucky Heartwood to the Daniel Boone National Forest demanding an immediate halt to ongoing logging from the Greenwood Vegetation Management Project on the Stearns Ranger District in McCreary and Pulaski Counties. The letter comes after a series of surveys by Kentucky Heartwood found that the Forest Service has sold an estimated 13,163 more trees to loggers than what the Forest Service analyzed, and ultimately approved in their 2017 decision.

​Kentucky Heartwood also found that the Forest Service is violating mandatory Forest Plan Standards by marking trees for harvest in designated riparian buffer zones meant to protect streams. Riparian buffer violations were observed in tributaries that flow directly into Beaver Creek and Beaver Creek Wilderness, which provides habitat for the federally-threatened blackside dace (Phoxinus cumberlandensis).

A spokesperson for the Daniel Boone National Forest says the forest service has carried out the project as it was designed, but will be “looking into” the allegations of illegal logging.

“We support any citizen that wants to comment about their national forest,” said Tim Eling, with the Daniel Boone National Forest.

However, there’s no clear timetable for reviewing the operation because of the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

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