Thanks to Harry Pelle, KWOA board member, for sharing this story
While marking fifty acres for a timber stand improvement project on their property on April 23rd, Harry and Karen Pelle along with Chris Will, their consulting forester, found quite a welcome surprise. They discovered a couple of American Chestnut root sprouts. Harry admits there have been other aspiring chestnut seedlings over the thirty years the Pelle’s have been traversing their tree farm near Bradfordsville but they didn’t know what to look for.
The day before, Earth Day, they had helped plant 1200 American Chestnuts at Eastern Kentucky University’s Taylor Fork Ecological Area.
The effort with The American Chestnut Foundation seeks to restore the iconic tree as a staple in eastern forests.
That recent experience may have made the Pelle’s more aware of the chestnut’s latest effort to re-establish itself in the territory where it once reigned.
The Pelle’s marked the spot where they found the tree sprouts on Chris’s GPS and with a tee post.
The Pelle’s also cleared the area around the sprouts of fallen tops and brush. They intend to monitor the potential trees’ progress and just maybe these two will beat the Chestnut Blight that decimated the regions mighty giants. It may be the next generation of Pelles that will have to continue the watch over the seedlings.
The newest trees are in good company. Harry has an American Chestnut restoration grove just down the hill from the little guys. He likes to think the trees’ ancestors are looking down the hill and cheering on their new cousins in the fight to beat the blight. Harry thinks the finding of the sprouts “might have been the chestnuts’ way of saying ‘thanks for the help.’”
HCR 29 directs the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission to establish a Timber Theft and Trespass Reduction Task Force to study issues regarding timber theft and trespass and to develop consensus recommendations to address those issues.
The task force would meet three times before submitting its final report to the LRCommission by November 30, 2016. The LRC has authority to alternatively assign the issues identified in the Resolution to interim joint committees or subcommittees.
Sponsored in the House by representatives Combs, Denham, Howard, Montell, Nelson, Osborne and Riggs, the resolution passed 95-0 in February. It is now in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
KWOA voted at its annual meeting to support the resolution with a letter from President Frank Hicks. In addition, Keith Argow, President, National Woodland Owners Association submitted a letter of support to the senate committee. In his letter Argow notes that “…Kentucky has one of the weakest positions against timber theft of any state.” He argues that, in addition to inherent flaws, Kentucky’s current statute with respect to timber theft, KRS 364.130, is a civil statute that requires timber theft victims to file civil suits, an action that is out of reach for many landowners. The result, Argow concludes, is that “logging theft is an almost risk-free crime.”
KWOA members are encouraged to call and/or write their senators on the Natural Resources and Energy Committee in support of HCR 29. The 2016 legislative session adjourns April 12.
Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee
• Sen. Jared Carpenter [Chair]
• Sen. Brandon Smith [Vice Chair]
• Sen. C.B. Embry Jr.
• Sen. Chris Girdler
• Sen. Ernie Harris
• Sen. Paul Hornback
• Sen. Ray S. Jones II
• Sen. John Schickel
• Sen. Johnny Ray Turner
• Sen. Robin L. Webb
• Sen. Whitney Westerfield
On April 14, 2009, 15 industry and consultant foresters underwent American Tree Farm Inspector Training. This training provides the background needed to inspect and re-inspect Kentucky forested land which can then be certified in the American Tree Farm System (ATFS). All Tree Farm inspectors volunteer their time to work with and inspect Kentucky Tree Farm lands. Training was held at Domtar Paper Company, LLC-Hawesville, KY. The training facilitator was Pam Snyder, Forest Management Chief, Kentucky Division of Forestry. The training was sponsored by the Kentucky SIC (Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee).
In August, 2008, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) endorsed the American Tree Farm System. As a result of this endorsement Kentucky tree farms are now third party certified, and are recognized by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) as meeting the standards to qualify tree farms to provide SFI certified wood. The ATFS supports recognized requirements that assure sustainably managed forests. The mission of ATFS is to promote the growing of renewable forest resources on private lands while protecting environmental benefits and increasing public understanding of all benefits of productive forestry.
The ATFS is sponsored nationally by the American Forest Foundation, a 501c3 non profit organization promoting the sustainable management of forests through education and outreach to private forest landowners. Kentucky currently has 801 certified tree farms covering 270,729 acres. Kentucky’s Tree Farms are dedicated to producing wood products, maintaining wildlife habitat, improving water quality, and providing outdoor recreational opportunities. To be eligible for tree farm certification, a landowner must have a minimum of 10 forested acres, have a commitment to practice sustainable, long-term forest management , and demonstrate proactive forest management involvement.
To obtain more information on Kentucky’s Tree Farm Program, contact the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 502-564-4496, or any of the newly trained ATFS inspectors, or visit www.treefarmsystem.org or www.kytreefarm.org.