The Nature Conservancy now permits hunting, bird watching, and hiking on the Brush Mountain Woodlands, a 640-acre land tract in the Central Appalachians. The area of land in Pennsylvania now serves as a form of park. Hunters and nature lovers alike seem pleased with the change.
The conservancy made the decision to permit deer hunting in order to restore forested land. A logging effort in the past removed the best trees, leaving only the undesirables. The forest is already beginning to regenerate, according to Pennsylvania Nature Conservancy deputy director Todd Sampsell. He stated that some American chestnut trees and pitch pines are already growing and other seeds are present.
The land within Blair county has been enrolled in the Pennsylvania Deer Management Assistance Program. Through the program, landowners receive additional hunting permits for antlerless deer on designated land. The conservancy received 73 permits and has 20 remaining for this coming deer season. Last year, the conservancy received 13 permits. Three of the eight report cards returned last year noted that antlerless deer had been harvested.
Participation in this program will help conservancy efforts to get the land certified by a forest management program under the Forest Stewardship Council. Plans are being developed regarding rehabilitation of habitats. “Nobody wants to see deer eradicated. It’s a chance to get the forest to rebound and get the forest and deer back in balance,” said Mr. Sampsell.
The process will involve ongoing efforts and the results may not be witnessed within our lifetimes. Mr. Sampsell reinforced this thought, stating, “Unfortunately when you’re working with trees and forests, you’re working on things you may not live to see. This will be a really good forest.” Mr. Sampsell stated that the PA Game Commission could possibly work with the Nature Conservancy by repairing roads to provide easier access for hunters.
Source: Leberfinger, Mark. AltoonaMirror.com. Conservancy allowing hunting in woodlands.