Wildlife gets help on Sumter National Forest
The South Carolina State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the U.S. Forest Service have partnered to improve 250 acres for wildlife on the Long Cane Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.
The Long Cane District projects included healthy forest initiatives like prescribed burning to control and eliminate dense underbrush that offers no nutritional value to wildlife, and planting forbs and grasses that wildlife can use. Tall underbrush raises the wildfire risk as it can shoot flames into the tops of the taller trees making forest destruction rates much higher.
"We burn for two reasons," USFS Wildlife Tech Donnie Ray said. "The main one is to reduce fuel to control the spread of wildfires, and the other is to help wildlife. Fire creates diverse habitats, which benefit a variety of wildlife species."
The NWTF South Carolina Chapter contributed $7,000 from its Wild Turkey Super Fund to the $40,000 project, and is planning to continue to help fund the project to improve wildlife habitat on public land.
"We plant clover, wheat and oats in the fall, and millet in the spring to feed wildlife through the year," NWTF biologist Luke Lewis said. "We are planning to expand each year until all of the Long Cane District has been planted, or established and mowed."
The focus of the project is to improve the habitat for deer and wild turkeys by planting utility company right-of-ways, old fields and closed roads that will offer more opportunities for hunting and viewing of all types of wildlife.
For more information about the NWTF, call 1-800-THE-NWTF.