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Windle Says Skinner Mountain Preservation Keeps The UC Way Of Life

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Windle Says Skinner Mountain Preservation Keeps The UC Way Of Life

State Representative John Mark Windle said forest preservation at Skinner Mountain ensures the things local residents enjoy will stay intact.

This Wednesday, some 11,000 acres were permanently protected along the Overton and Fentress County line. Windle said more than ever, Ohio and Kentucky residents want to develop recreation homes in the area.

“Our plateau has more species of flora and fauna than the entire continent of Europe,” Windle said. “It’s a special place that can be enjoyed for generations to come and this will promote that.”

Windle said this agreement was structured in a way to protect timber harvesting, while not impeding on wildlife. The gorges, cliffs and waterfalls near East Fork Obey River provide a habitat to a variety of endangered and threatened species.

“The fifth longest cave in the state is underneath this property and it certainly provides a habitat for many small animals and other types of animals,” Windle said. “We’ve got to keep in mind that the future must preserve the opportunity for small game and small animals to coexist with us. I think this takes a step in the right direction. It will provide a place for families to hike, for families to hunt and other recreational activities on this tract of land.”

Windle said this preservation is critical to preserving hunting areas. He said land that Upper Cumberland families hunt and hike are being closed off rapidly because of development or private ownership.

“Hunting is extremely important to the people who live in the Upper Cumberland,” Windle said. “This provides more opportunities for hunters to go with their family and hunt on land that’s accessible to the public. Many parcels are being closed off by people coming and buying, it’s not a criticism, it’s just a reality. And more and more land that has been hunted for generations, is being shut off by new owners.”

These 11,723 acres were purchased through The Conservation Fund’s Working Forest Fund. The land will be permanently protected through conservation easements, this limits development and provides public access as part of the Skinner Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and permit sustainable timber harvesting under private ownership.


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