Highland Supervisors Discuss Forest Use
Monterey, VA – The Highland County Board of Supervisors started out the New Year by electing Jerry Rexrode chairman and Robin Sullenberger vice-chairman. The Board also adopted Rules of Procedure and set dates for meetings in 2011. As it was in 2010, the Supervisors will meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 PM in the Modular Conference Center in Monterey. District Ranger Patrick Sheridan made a report to the Supervisors on new signage in Laurel Fork.
Supervisor Sullenberger asked Mr. Sheridan how requests for wilderness designation for parts of Highland County by the Friends of Shenandoah Mountain would be handled in the new draft forest management plan due out in late January or early February. Mr. Sheridan describes the process.
“We’ll take all that, consider the source, consider the scientific facts behind the situation or past management, things that are likely to change, and make our best call” says Sheridan.
Wilderness designation for parts of Highland County has been opposed by county officials and the Supervisors plan to send letters to that effect to Virginia’s congressional representatives and to the Forest Service. Wilderness designation must be approved by Congress.
Supervisor Rexrode asked Sheridan about access to the forest lands for seniors and those who are handicapped. Sheridan says those issues are being addressed on a trial basis in various areas. He says they have moved forward with trying to provide more hunting opportunities for those who are disabled.
The Forest Service does have some designated areas for ATV riders. More details on these areas can be found on the George Washington – Jefferson National Forest website. There is an extra charge for this activity because ATVs often damage trails requiring extra maintenance work.
In other business, the Supervisors considered a request from the School Board to appropriate the remainder of its funding for this fiscal year. The Supervisors approved appropriation of $963,032 for the third quarter.