US Forest Service Robert's Gap Plan
Robert's Gap is a 40,000 acre tract of US Forest Service(USFS) land in the headwaters of the Buffalo River. It is immediately upstream from the Buffalo National River boundary. In this area the Buffalo River is designated as a Wild and Scenic River. The Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area is also immediately adjacent to this tract and, besides the Buffalo, the White River, King's River, Mulberry River and War Eagle Creek all originate in the Robert's Gap area. Clearly this is a special place deserving of enhanced protection.
In 2017 the USFS introduced a far-reaching proposal (click "Decision" and read the Final EA) to manage the Robert's Gap tract. It includes approximately 12,000 acres of timber thinning and harvest, 10,000 acres of prescribed burning, 70 miles of road construction for timber removal, 20 miles of dozer lines for fire breaks, and 3,000 acres of herbicide treatment. After 4 years of delays the project is now on the verge of implementation.
BRWA has serious concerns about this proposal and we have submitted comments and we then submitted objections when our concerns were not adequately addressed by USFS. Others submitted objections as well.
An objection resolution meeting was held on July 27 and on August 11th USFS released its responses to objections.
A Final Decision will be announced some time after August 11th and project implementation could commence as soon as 2 weeks after the Final Decision.
BRWA is exploring options for responding to the anticipated final decision to proceed with this project in spite of our objections which we believe highlight inevitable threats to the Buffalo National River and other important streams as well as endangered species which call the Gap home. Stay tuned.
Some related documents:
Forest Plan Amendment for Bat Conservation, the "Bat Amendment", March 17, 2021
Indiana Bat Maternity colony found in Robert's Gap, July 26, 2021