The majority of the work at Laurel Hill is “thinning” the pine forest. Thinning simply reduces the amount of wood in the forest to healthier and safer levels. For example, much of the area being thinned currently has around 150 square feet per acre of woody biomass. This work will reduce the amount of woody biomass to 60-70 square feet per acre.
At our request, the loggers will clear cut a 2.5-acre area west of the allée of oaks. We plan to ultimately remove the stumps, grade and grow grass there, so that we can park cars away from the historic allée of oaks. We currently have to park cars in the allée, and driving near the grand oaks can shorten the life of the trees. We believe this to be the most responsible land stewardship decision.
The initial thinning/timber harvest was for the southern half of the park, but the northern half of the park is also due for active management. If weather allows, the loggers will soon shift to that area. We have also asked Wells Fargo to direct the loggers to clear some additional areas, which will be strategically re-planted with loblolly pine, longleaf pine, and mast-producing hardwoods and fruit trees. The replanting effort will provide educational opportunities and improve wildlife habitat and food availability.