Noticeable Changes Are Occuring In The National Forest
Warm Springs, Va – Nationally, the Forest Service continues to address the cost of managing our National Forests within the funding made available for this important mission in these challenging times. The George Washington-Jefferson National Forest must balance the amount and type of work we accomplish with anticipated levels of funding. As funding levels decline, the amount of goods and services may decline.
The public will notice some changes on the James River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts as the 2011season progresses. In an effort to match up our current levels of funding with our program of work, reductions in services are taking place in several areas. The level of road maintenance will decrease, and the level of recreation maintenance, including mowing and cleaning of campgrounds will decline.
The Longdale Day Use area will open with reduced services in May; the fee will be waived however. In 2012, more decisions will be made as the best way to meet the public needs within anticipated levels of funding. We will consider contracting the recreation operations at Lake Moomaw and Blowing Springs to private vendors.
These vendors would manage the recreation operations under Forest Service standards and guidelines on a for-profit basis. As these ideas are explored, we will keep the local citizens current and seek public involvement.
The elevation of Lake Moomaw finally reached full pool in late March, much later than recent years. The lake was a full 23 feet below full pool last November. Pulse releases are continuing on a trial basis over the next 12 months.
Pulse releases simulate natural storm flows in the Jackson River and are designed to better transport impurities in the river system downstream. These pulse releases have not affected lake levels by more than half a foot, which was the original agreement between the Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Spring means campgrounds are opening. Hidden Valley Campground opened March 25. Campground 1 at Lake Moomaw opened on April 4. Campground 2, 3, and Sugar Ridge at Lake Moomaw will open on May 23. McClintic Point and Blowing Springs Campgrounds have been open the entire year.