Forest Service hosting open house for Butler Hollow project
Project's comment period lasts from Monday to Feb. 6
Area residents can attend an open house next week to discuss the Butler Hollow Project, which proposes natural community restorative activities on about 18,181 acres in the Cassville Unit of the Mark Twain National Forest.
District Ranger Joe Koloski and other resource specialists will answer questions about the project from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Show-Me Plaza, located at 404 Highway 248, Suite 8, in Cassville.
"As far as the meeting goes, it's not a forum or a debate on the project," said Koloski, who has been the district ranger since August. "It's just an opportunity for folks to talk with our people and get additional information, ask questions and then comment if they would like."
If the Forest Service makes a decision to implement the project, some of the actions include cedar removal and oak thinning during prescribed fires, he said. The goal is to bring back the native species to the glades and the woodland areas. The project's northern part borders Roaring River State Park. The cedar trees shade out the native species, and the needle fall is acidic.
"It will alter the soil chemistry to where those other plants can't grow," Koloski said.
The public can submit comments from Monday to Feb. 6.
After the comment period ends, the Forest Service will review the comments, identify any additional issues and prepare an environmental assessment.
"I'll review the environmental assessment -- review what the impacts of that activity are going to be -- and I'll make a decision on whether I feel we should implement the project or not," he said. "At that point, I'll draft a decision document."
For 45 days, the public can review the draft decision notice at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mtnf/projects via "Butler Hollow" and object to Koloski's decision.
"Anybody who has commented on this project will automatically be sent a draft decision," Koloski said.
If there are objections, the Forest Service will try to resolve them, he said. After the 45-day comment period, the Forest Service will issue a final decision.
The public can submit written comments to District Ranger, Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District, Rt. 6, Box 614110, Ava, MO 65608. People can also send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line of Butler Hollow Project Comments or by fax at 417-683-5722. For more information, people may contact the Ava Forest Service office or Koloski at 417-683-4428.