April 5, 2016 – The Point Washington State Forest Longleaf Greenway Western Trail, also known as the Satinwood Trail will be closed to hikers/bikers for the next few weeks. A contractor for the Florida Forest Service is harvesting 85 acres of Sand Pine as part of a restoration effort. Once the logging operation is complete, the trail will reopen.
The process of restoring a historical, native Longleaf Pine (Pinus Palustris) ecosystem involves the complete removal of off-site Sand Pine (Pinus Clausa) on the 85 acres. A timber harvest operation will serve to accomplish this objective.
Due to fire suppression and harvesting of the Longleaf legacy canopy prior to the creation of Point Washington State Forest, the area has been invaded by Sand Pine. With minimal sunlight reaching the forest floor, this has created an unfavorable environment for the rich diversity of ground cover species that support most of our native wildlife species.
In its current state, it poses few positive characteristics that support the immense number of native species that would typically be found in one of our ecologically correct plant communities. This step is the first of many in an attempt to restore Point Washington State Forest for the benefit of our native species and the many users of the state forest.
The Forest Service’s goals with this timber harvest are to remove the dense Sand Pine over-story from the current plant community and replant the area with Longleaf Pine in the next year’s planting season. Historically, this plant community’s over-story was composed primarily of Longleaf Pine and typically more open which allowed sunlight better opportunity to reach the forest floor.
This process is not a development, but rather a restoring of the forest to its native ecosystem. The Florida Forestry Service follows best management practices with primary zones based on Outstanding Florida Waters as found in the Florida Service Manual, Silviculture Best Management Practices. The Florida Forest Service is dedicated to restoring our unique and highly sensitive ecosystem and improving the overall health of these ecosystems.
During the project, the contractor will enter and exit on Hwy 83, and will not be using Hwy 30-A.
Should you have any questions, please contact the local Florida Forest Office at 850-267-8325.