Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2014 Gamekeepers / Summer - The Path to Paradise

Gerald Lemacks hauls fill dirt to patch a farm road

Farming for wildlife is just one piece in the land management puzzle and the most important building block is access. Roads, trails, firebreaks and the like are the arteries that allow that access and their upkeep is very important. Wet weather and logging operations are a certainty in the future, so fixing roads now is cost effective considering inflation. Annual maintenance will be required but that’s also provides the benefit of keeping one in the outdoors more year round
Cement culverts can be used to bolster farm roads
Summer 2014 Cover 
Have you ever noticed that industrial timberlands have invested heavily in rock roads with ditching and culverts where necessary? It’s an old adage that property access pays off down the lone in terms of offering an attractive lease to hunters, or perhaps being able to conduct logging during wet weather when the market price is prime. Recreational landowners may not be able to afford to duplicate these practices, but the message of improved access should resonate since they seek the same dividends.
Ross Catterton is the long time manager for Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, a property open for public hunting and owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. “You always have to maintain your roads, even if they are paved, because roads are not permanent structures without maintenance,” said Catterton. “Topping a dirt road bed with rock is a great way to build it up, and though it is costly, every time you grade that road the material stays there.”

Through personal experience I have found that hauling dirt to a problem area can fix all sorts of issues like standing water, deep ruts and bottom crossings. Having the dirt ready to haul requires some forethought for land managers. You may want to ask the question are you dirt poor or dirt rich? 

There is no link to the remainder of my feature story, but to join the Gamekeeper club click here, good for a subscription and a free hat and Biologic seed sample.

To see past blog entries from Gamekeepers magazine click Spring 2014 or Winter 2013.

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