Biologists Respond in Opposition to the Sharp Rock Project near Kinkaid Lake
Hidden documents from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Natural Heritage and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC) in several USDA Forest Service (FS) project files were uncovered through a formal and lengthy Freedom of Information Act request process. In these newly discovered documents IDNR Natural Heritage and INPC biologists express their outright objections to Shawnee logging projects complete with scientific rationale and lengthy literature citations.
One particular project, the Sharp Rock Oak Habitat Project in Jackson County will involve commercial logging on more than 2,300 acres of national forest land, all within the watershed of Kinkaid Lake. IDNR Natural Heritage and INPC biologists' submitted a response to their original comments on the proposed project which were all but ignored by the FS in the Environmental Assessment for the project. In their response the biologists state "that timber harvests can rarely be used to successfully restore forested communities in Illinois..." A PDF copy of the Response is attached below. While the FS has issued a final decision to implement the project as planned, as of the first of the year, logging was not underway.
Unfortunately, logging near Kinkaid Lake is proceeding at the Waterfall Project. The accompanying image of the logging site and the equipment used to strip the forest of vegetation was taken by Cade Bursell in July of 2022 on what used to be a shaded footpath, the Hidden Cove Waterfall Trail.