Aucilla River logging threat is back


Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing, Inc.

Comes now word that things have taken a turn for the worse in terms of the possible logging of two 80-acre parcels of old growth cypress trees near Sneads Smokehouse Lake on the Aucilla River.
The last heard on the issue, about a year ago, was that the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) was considering the purchase of the combined 160-acre property and everything was copasetic.
Now comes word from Roy King, of the Aucilla/Wacissa River Group (AWR), that notwithstanding the group’s earlier optimism that the 160 acres of old growth cypresses would be preserved, “the plan to log these trees has recently flared back up.”
The AWR has scheduled a public meeting at the R.J. Bailar Library at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 18, to discuss its options.
“We hope to have some river experts and other vested interests in attendance,” King emailed. “Our plan is to develop an opposing position to this logging.”
The issue goes back about two years, when the AWR formed in response to the threatened logging of the 160-parcel by Ware Forest Inc., the Georgia timber company that owns the property.
The AWR was successful in bringing attention to the issue and even got the Jefferson County Commission and the Monticello City Council to adopt separate resolutions condemning the proposed logging and urging public purchase of the property.
The two resolutions, among other things, encouraged the SRWMD to put forth a maximum effort to resolve what the documents called “a threat to the Aucilla.”
The two documents made the argument that cutting the old-growth cypresses would cause long and short-term damage to the river, not the least of which would be derogation of the water quality, impediment of vessel and recreational access, and obliteration of the scenic vistas.
At one point, Ware Forest Inc., was threatening legal action against the Ashville Area Property Owners Association if the latter didn’t grant the timber access through its subdivision, as the 160-acre parcel is landlocked. That issue, however, appeared to go away once the SRWMD began eyeing the possible purchase of the property.
For more information, email King at aucillawacissarivergroup@gmail.com.