Forestry Partnerships Save Soil
People enjoy spending time in the forest for many reasons. Some find a walk along a forest trail a welcome relief from everyday stress. Others enjoy a family picnic along a forest stream. Often we notice the natural beauty of our forests as we travel throughout Pickens County. Forests provide us with many materials used in our state and nation. Wood products are used for building materials, paper, cardboard, furniture, etc.. Forests provide thousands of jobs for people involved in producing products from wood.
Forests also provide us with things essential to life itself. The air we breath is a by-product of forests. The clean water we drink and use for recreation are protected by forests. Soil erosion from the red hills of Pickens County has been healed by green forests. Most of us will agree that forests are vital to our well being. Whether we actually own forest land or not, we all claim some degree of possession in our forests. Likewise, we all have a responsibility in preserving this precious resource for future generations.
The Pickens Conservation District places special emphasis on our forests. Educational programs are provided to local schools, outdoor classrooms are being developed, and field days and tours focusing on forestry issues are held.
The Pickens District is very proud of the relationship developed with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly SCS, and the South Carolina Forestry Commission. While some might argue this relationship has been in place for many years, the Pickens District took a different approach. Through interaction with local people, certain needs were identified. From these needs, specific goals were determined and priorities were set. Current focus deals with access roads in forest land.
Access has been determined to be a key ingredient of management. How many land owners would like to do a better job of managing but are discouraged because of the time and effort it takes to get over their tract of land ? While completing a brief inventory of woodland tracts, the District discovered that most tracts had some form of an access road system. Many were impassable due to soil erosion and stream crossings. Over 10 miles of access roads were treated with water bars (mounds or ridges of soil constructed to divert water from road surfaces) and other best management practices in the county during 1995.
The district pursued an aggressive information program to inform the landowner that help was available. District Commissioners toured the Coweta Hydrologic Lab in North Carolina to increase their awareness. NRCS provided technical expertise, and the Forestry Commission and private contractors carried out the work for landowners.
Ross Stewart, NRCS, demonstrates
water bar construction.