BURDETT, N.Y. (WETM) – In order to help keep the land alive and flourishing, the U.S. Forest Service will be cutting down trees planted 80 years ago and thinning the Finger Lakes National Forest this year.

The USFS announced that thinning will start in January and will continue throughout the year. The “timber harvest”—a joint effort with the National Wild Turkey Federation—is part of the Finger Lakes Invasive Pest Strategy, the USFS explained.

To improve the health and biodiversity of the forest, as well as bring back native plant species, the USFS said work will start on Burnt Hill Road in the winter and continue north of Townsend Road near Lodi and Interlaken. The announcement said the harvest will continue in the drier summer months.

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen a timber harvest here on the Finger Lakes National Forest,”
said District Ranger Jodie Vanselow. “It may come as a surprise to see some stands cleared or thinned, but it will make a big long-term difference in the health of the forest, and it is a project we’ve developed thoughtfully over the past few years.”

The harvest aims to reduce forest density and lower the risk of threats like the Emerald Ash Borer. Specifically, the USFS said much of the harvest will focus on areas with trees not native to NYS planted in the 1940s after a long period of agricultural use. They will be thinned to help native trees (like aspen) grow and improve the habitat for wildlife.

Some trails, including the Ravine and Interloken trails, may have closures during the harvest, but the USFS said the work won’t interfere with recreational use of the forest.

The FLIPS project was proposed in 2016, according to the USFS. It focuses on harvesting trees, improving the habitat, and restoring about 700 acres of the Finger Lakes National Forest. Anyone with questions can call 607-546-4470 ext. 3316.