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Longleaf Pine Restoration Continues in Point Washington State Forest

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by kurt, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    The Florida Forest Service is in the process of restoring a historical, native Longleaf Pine (Pinus Palustris) ecosystem within Point Washington State Forest. Initially, this will involve the complete removal of off-site Sand Pine (Pinus Clausa) on 85 acres. A timber harvest operation will serve to accomplish this objective.


    Due to fire suppression and harvesting of the longleaf legacy canopy prior to the creation of Point Washington State Forest, the area has been invaded by Sand Pine. With minimal sunlight reaching the forest floor, this has created an unfavorable environment for the rich diversity of ground cover species that support most of our native wildlife species.


    In its current state, it poses few positive characteristics that support the immense number of native species that would typically be found in one of our ecologically correct plant communities. This step is the first of many in an attempt to restore Point Washington State Forest for the benefit of our native species and the many users of the state forest.


    The Forest Service’s goals with this timber harvest are to remove the dense Sand Pine over-story from the current plant community and replant the area with Longleaf Pine. Historically, this plant community's over-story was composed primarily of Longleaf Pine and typically more open which allowed sunlight better opportunity to reach the forest floor.


    This process is not a development, but rather a restoring of the forest to its native ecosystem. The Florida Forestry Service follows best management practices with primary zones based on Outstanding Florida Waters as found in the Florida Service Manual, Silviculture Best Management Practices. The Florida Forest Service is dedicated to restoring our unique and highly sensitive ecosystem and improving the overall health of these ecosystems.


    The Florida Forestry Service is currently bidding out this project and the bidding will close on May 12th. Once the winning bid is accepted, the contractor will have one year to complete the timber harvest. Forestry has begun working on improving the road to accommodate the contractor. During the project, the contractor will enter and exit on Hwy 83, and will not be using Hwy 30-A.


    Should you have any questions, please contact the local Florida Forest Office at 850-267-8325.


    This is an area just north of Justin Gaffrey's Studio in Blue Mountain Beach - google map link

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  2. Everytime

    Everytime Beach Fanatic

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    Hey Kurt:

    I was in Seagrove the past week and a half and saw what may be a similar or related project in the northern part of Deer Lake State Park within the Point Washington State Forest. Several times during the week, I had either run by Deer Lake on the 30A Path or driven by in the car on 30A, and noticed a new double track (vehicular) trailhead at the west end of the Deer Lake State Park (North) boundary, between Watersound West Beach and the Deer Lake State Park beach entrance - but on the north side of 30A. Sunday morning, I headed out on a run from N Gulf Dr eastward on the 30A Path and decided to explore this new trailhead. I had run the smaller Nature Trail that loops in and out directly across 30A from the Deer Lake State Park beach entrance in the past, but this system I ran Sunday morning stayed beyond that Nature Trail more at the perimeter of Deer Lake State Park. At one point, near the "pointer" on my photo below, I noticed something of a "pine dome" of trees similar to the cypress dome that covers much of the Conservation Park wetlands trails near Hwy 79 in Bay County. I also noticed a utility water trailer with an "on loan from US Department of Interior" (or forestry) decal near that point, and further down that trail, I saw some forestry heavy equipment. Near "Mile 2" on my photo, I joined onto what seems to be a main service road and appears to run from the Deer Park caretaker's residence on 30A (next to "Prominence North") northwestward towards the Eastern Lake Trail System.

    I ran a spur trail off of this main service road trail, then back on to that main trail and came out on 30A at Prominence North. In that area near the caretaker's residence, I saw 2 deer that kept stopping to turn around and look at me before running off. The following night (Monday), we were driving back from dinner at Boondock's on 79 and saw those 2 same deer standing on the 30A shoulder in the same spot where I had exited the forest.

    So, just curious if they'll be doing a similar harvest in the Deer Lake State Park or Eastern Lake Trail System areas, or if what I saw was just routine maintenance activity?

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  3. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    I'm not sure about that area. Sounds like it could be a longleaf restoration. There is also periodic clearing for natural restoration areas.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015

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