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County Officials Take LBL Controversy to Washington

Wade White

County officials critical of land management in Land Between the Lakes are meeting with federal officials in Washington to get the forest service to temporarily halt logging.

Judge/Executives Wade White of Lyon County and Hollis Alexander of Trigg County met with Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Representative Ed Whitfield to present their case.

In the last two weeks, fiscal courts in Marshall, Trigg, and Lyon counties have passed resolutions requesting a temporary halt to all logging to allow public debate on the Forest Service’s land management actions.

“Pausing a few months is not gonna hurt any plans. If we go in there and we start cutting and burning, that’s done for a long time. If we pause, nobody’s hurt. So, it’s a very easy thing to do,” White said.

Opposition to current land management practices exploded when the Forest Service released a draft of its Scenery Management Plan for public comment in November. The plan left many with the impression that the Forest Service plans to radically alter the landscape by converting forest to open lands.

But LBL Spokesperson Jan Bush said controversy over land management projects stems from shortfalls in communication. She added that the Forest Service plans to maintain 82 percent of the peninsula as forest of various densities.

“We plan to better communicate. By doing so we plan to write in plain language. And we also intend to collaborate with multiple groups and interests. Be sure that we listen to all parties and not just the parties that agree with us but also listen intently to the parties that disagree with us,” Bush said.

Some people are calling for the end of all management at LBL. Bush said anything is possible but hopes the Forest Service can continue its management at LBL. She said if the Forest Service implements no management, diseases and harmful insects would weaken the health of the forest and create safety hazards. She said the Forest Service would probably have to close areas that become too dangerous.    

“We function as a National Recreation Area, and to do this, and also to meet our environmental education mission, active management of the forest is required instead of just letting it go to seed,” Bush said.  

To improve communication, Bush said the Forest Service plans to hold meetings to listen to and collaborate with the public.

“We want people to talk. We wanna talk with people. We want everybody’s opinion. And we’re not asking to change opinions, what we’re asking is for people to work with us… This is not an us-and-them thing. We just need to come together better,” Bush said. “We want to work with people and we just need to step up our game in collaborating and communicating.”

White said communication is important but added it should give the public the ability to affect change in LBL management plans.

“We’re not wanting them to stop and just explain to us why landscape change is good. That’s not the problem here. A lot of us disagree with landscape change. So not only do we need to discuss where all of this came from. We need to discuss alternatives as well,” White said.

White said representatives for Senators McConnell and Paul will meet with Forest Service members next week to present the case for halting logging.


A proud native of Murray, Kentucky, Allison grew up roaming the forests of western Kentucky and visiting national parks across the country. She graduated in 2014 from Murray State University where she studied Environmental Sustainability, Television Production, and Spanish. She loves meeting new people, questioning everything, and dancing through the sun and the rain. She hopes to make a positive impact in this world several endeavors at a time.
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