Finger Lakes National Forest cuts trees as part of ‘invasive pest’ strategy

To improve the health and biodiversity of the Finger Lakes National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service will cut down trees planted 80 years ago and irrigate the area year-round.

The USFS announced that as part of its Finger Lakes Invasive Pest Strategy, thinning will begin in January and will continue throughout the year. The “timber harvest”, a joint effort with the National Wild Turkey Federation, will begin on Burnt Hill Road in winter and continue north of Townsend Road near Lodi and Interlaken. Harvest will continue in the dry summer months.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a timber harvest here in the Finger Lakes National Forest,” said District Ranger Jodie Vanselow. “It may come as a surprise to see some stands cleared or thinned, but this will make a huge long-term difference in the health of the forest, and this is a project we have carefully developed over the past few years.”

The harvest aims to reduce forest density and reduce the risk of threats like the Emerald Ash Borer. Specifically, the USFS said most of the harvest will focus on areas with non-New York City trees planted in the 1940s after a long period of agricultural use. Trees will be thinned to help native trees such as aspen grow and improve habitat for wildlife.

Some trails, including the Ravine and Interloken trails, may close during harvest, but the USFS said the work will not interfere with recreational use of the forest. Proposed in 2016, the FLIPS project focuses on collecting trees, improving habitat, and restoring nearly 700 acres of Finger Lakes National Forest. Anyone with a question can call 607-546-4470. 3316.

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