By JIM BUTLER
The U.S. Forest Service proposes altering management of and access to a portion of Kisatchie National Forest near Bentley.
The Sandy Branch ecosystem management plan would restore the long leaf pine ecosystem to promote forest health and public safety.
According to the USFS, the project would improve current and future Red-cockaded woodpecker habitat on the 5,572 acres involved west and north of Bentley.
The woodpecker, which is not red and small in stature, and about two dozen other species, including the big snake, rely on longleaf forests, which once blanketed Central Louisiana and the rest of the South, for their well-being.
About six miles would be closed and about one mile of USFS road opened to motorized vehicles on the acreage, which is in Forest Compartments 35, 36, 52, 53 and 54.
The Kisatchie encompasses about 800,000 non-contiguous acres across Central Louisiana. Management promoting the woodpecker habitat is long-standing.
For additional information contact Anthony Page, 318-765-3554, or Anthony.Page@usda.gov.
Deadline for written public comment is in mid-December.