Forest Service purchases Lawrence County tract

BEDFORD – In late December, staff at the Hoosier National Forest successfully acquired a 43.49-acre tract of land in Lawrence County. 

Maintaining the new tract as forest protects water quality.

The Forest seeks to purchase land from willing landowners within its established acquisition boundary, with the highest priority being tracts that are adjacent to existing National Forest System land, have legal or physical access, have known threatened or endangered species habitat, or protect significant cultural resources, areas of historical interest, and unusual habitats.

This particular tract is primarily covered with hardwoods.

This particular tract is surrounded by National Forest System land on the north, west, and east, thus reducing the amount of property boundary for the Forest to maintain.  It provides not only additional land for recreation but a more consolidated land base for dispersed recreation opportunities.  In addition, inclusion in the National Forest System will protect the property from conversion to non-forest use allowing the forest ecosystem to continue to protect the water quality of the stream that is present, and in the surrounding watershed.

The purchase was the Hoosier National Forest’s first land acquisition using the tripartite land exchange method.  The funds to purchase the property were provided by partial receipts from several timber sales that occurred on the Forest over the last several years.  Once timber sale funds are utilized for all mandated deposits and actions, including required reforestation and other restoration activities, remaining funds can be made available for land purchase.  Funding is often the limiting factor to acquiring land, therefore this authority originating from the Weeks Act of 1911, makes the land purchase for the Forest more feasible.