WHEREAS, the Kisatchie National Forest (KNF) is Louisiana’s only national forest comprising approximately 604,000 acres of public forestland in five districts spread across seven parishes in central and northern Louisiana, and
WHEREAS, a variety of important habitats for game species like eastern wild turkey, white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, fox and grey squirrels, raccoon, and nongame species, including endangered species like the red-cockaded woodpecker and the Louisiana pine snake, are protected and managed within the KNF by the U. S. Forest Service (USFS), and
WHEREAS, the KNF includes ecologically-significant plant communities like longleaf pine, the most threatened of any of Louisiana’s forest communities, pitcher plant bogs, and rich riparian zones harboring giant trees, rare mussels, diverse fish and invertebrate species, and a wide variety of neotropical songbirds, and
WHEREAS, the KNF affords countless hours of outdoor recreation related to the enjoyment of fish, wildlife and native plant resources that is vital to the mental and physical well-being of Louisiana citizens and essential to stemming the growing problem of childhood obesity and “nature-deficit disorder,” and
WHEREAS, in addition to the personal health benefits from outdoor recreation afforded by the KNF, those activities and Kisatchie-related tourism contribute substantially to the state and local economies, and
WHEREAS, the KNF supports Louisiana’s forest products industry and related state and local economic benefits by growing quality timber that supplies millions of board feet of lumber, poles and pulpwood, and
WHEREAS, within the congressionally-authorized boundaries of the KNF lie many privately-owned tracts or “in-holdings” of ecologically important land that would benefit from conservation and management by the USFS as part of the KNF, and
WHEREAS, private in-holdings within the KNF boundary create management challenges and inefficiencies for the USFS in providing for stewardship of the KNF and also complicate the use of the KNF by the public, and
WHEREAS, within the southern end of the boundary of the KNF’s Winn District in Winn Parish lie numerous privately-owned parcels totaling over 20,000 acres that are now available on a willing seller basis for acquisition and inclusion in the KNF, and
WHEREAS, these in-holdings include lands that have great potential for habitat management and restoration of native plant and animal species like longleaf pine and red-cockaded woodpeckers and for public uses including hunting, fishing, hiking, birding, and horse riding, and
WHEREAS, the Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by the United States Congress to receive federal revenue generated from the exploration for and production of minerals in U.S. federal waters to be used for investment in public lands under the premise that the wealth generated by the depletion of nonrenewable natural resources should be invested in the preservation of renewable natural resources through land conservation, and
WHEREAS, Congress will soon be making appropriations for FY-2011 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and it would be timely for such appropriations to include an allocation of $2.5 million for the initial acquisition of approximately 2,500 acres of the aforementioned in-holdings for addition to the KNF, and
WHEREAS, securing the conservation and protection of these in-holdings by including them in the KNF will assure that additional habitat is available for wildlife to adapt to climate change and is consistent with Louisiana’s State Wildlife Action Plan and the Louisiana Wildlife Federation’s “Blueprint for Conservation.”
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) supports the acquisition and addition of private in-holdings to the Kisatchie National Forest (KNF) on a willing seller basis.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the LWF urges the members of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation and their colleagues in the United States Congress to approve the appropriation of Land & Water Conservation Funds in sufficient amount to acquire and add the initial 5,000 (of 20,000) acres of private in-holdings available from a willing seller to the Winn District of the KNF.
Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in convention assembled, February 28, 2010 at Cypress Bend Resort, Many, Louisiana.