Public comment extended on the Lower Cowpasture Project
The public comment period for the Lower Cowpasture Restoration Project has been extended until September 30th. The purpose of this effort is to identify projects that can advance the natural resource goals for the area. The project encompasses approximately 100,000 acres in the eastern portions of Alleghany and Bath Counties. The proposed action includes proposals for timber management, wildlife clearings, waterholes, prescribed burning, aquatic passage, invasive species management, new trail construction, American Chestnut planting and road reconstruction. An average of forty to fifty interested publics have been participating in the process, which began in March of 2013. A decision is expected in March of 2015. The next public meeting is November 3rd at Millboro Elementary School.
Employees on the Warm Springs and James River Ranger Districts have been in the woods performing a variety of field work which includes marking boundary lines in the National Forest, working on permanent wildlife openings, prescribed fire monitoring from this past spring’s prescribed burns, trail maintenance, recreation site maintenance, endangered species surveys and archaeological site evaluations.
The elevation of Lake Moomaw is approximately 14 feet below full pool or normal levels. The discharge of water and the management of the lake levels is the responsibility of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE). By agreement, the USACE cannot reduce the level of Lake Moomaw to more the 28 feet below full pool. The full pool elevation of Lake Moomaw is 1,582 feet above sea level. The minimum pool elevation at the lake is 1,554 feet below sea level.
An opportunity for disabled hunter access on Fore Mountain in Alleghany County and at Hidden Valley in Bath County is available during the regular deer gun hunting season. In an effort to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for as many people as possible, the Forest Service is opening the Fore Mountain Special Hunting Area, east of Covington in Alleghany County, to disabled deer hunters in November of 2014. Hunters with either a general disability or a permanent inability to walk can drive into the area for the regular rifle deer-hunting season only. In Hidden Valley, disabled hunters may use an ATV to travel up and down the Neal Run trail. Hunters and other forest users may still walk into these areas. A valid Big Game License, National Forest Stamp, and Disabled Hunting License or Permit for Persons Permanently Unable to Walk is required to obtain a Forest Service Authorization Letter.