In an effort to improve the health and biodiversity of the Finger Lakes National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service will be cutting down trees planted 80 years ago and thinning the area throughout the year.
The USFS announced that the thinning will start in January and continue throughout the year, as part of the Finger Lakes Invasive Pest Strategy. The “timber harvest” — a joint effort with the National Wild Turkey Federation — will begin on Burnt Hill Road in the winter, and continue north of Townsend Road near Lodi and Interlaken. The harvest will also continue in the drier summer months.
“It’s been a while since we’ve seen a timber harvest here on the Finger Lakes National Forest,” said District Ranger Jodie Vanselow. “It may come as a surprise to see some stands cleared or thinned, but it will make a big long-term difference in the health of the forest, and it is a project we’ve developed thoughtfully over the past few years.”
The harvest aims to reduce forest density and lower the risk of threats like the Emerald Ash Borer. Specifically, the USFS said much of the harvest will focus on areas with trees not native to New York, planted in the 1940s after a long period of agricultural use. The trees will be thinned to help native trees, like aspen, grow and improve the habitat for wildlife.
Some trails, including the Ravine and Interloken trails, may have closures during the harvest, but the USFS said the work will not interfere with recreational use of the forest. The FLIPS project, proposed in 2016, focuses on harvesting trees, improving the habitat, and restoring about 700 acres of the Finger Lakes National Forest. Anyone with questions can call 607-546-4470 ext. 3316.
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