Some White County residents disagree with TWRA’s plan to clear cut a portion of the Bridgestone-Firestone Centennial Wilderness.
One of those residents is Mike O’Neal who has hunted on the property for some 40 years. O’Neal said he is strongly against the project that would turn a hardwood forest into a quail habitat.
“Why would anyone take out a hardwood forest?” O’Neal said. “This is the most used portion for the squirrel, the turkey and deer hunters as well as they have about 20 some miles of hiking trails also. This portion of hardwood they are going to take out would decimate that particular acreage.”
The wildlife area was created through land donations by Bridgestone-Firestone to the state with the goal of preserving nature. O’Neal said he believes that the clear cutting goes against the tire company’s original intentions.
“The biggest thing I would like to say is TWRA has on the very same WMA across the river, 3,000 plus acres that is already prime habitat for quail and it has the pine trees planted for harvest,” O’Neal said. “So why would you take out the hardwood when you have property that you could remove the pines that were planned to be removed.”
O’Neal said he has spoken to other hunters in the area, and they share the same opinion. Discussion of the clear cutting was a part of a TWRA Commission Meeting in Cookeville last Thursday.