Mulching starts at Oak Mountain

Oak Mountain State Park is about to put on a fresh face. Beginning in mid-July, the park will undergo a 14-acre forest-mulching project through the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

This process allows forestry workers to clear damaged timber and crowded vegetation in order to clean up the forest and allow more sunlight to reach the ground.

Forrest Bailey, natural resources planner for ADCNR, said the project will improve plant life and the look of the park.

&8220;By doing this we will be facilitating new growth,&8221; Bailey said. &8220;We will be taking areas that are basically storm damaged or where small short leaf pine are crowding other species out and clear those areas.&8221;

Bailey said forest mulching is a relatively new concept in this region of the country.

&8220;This is a different way of looking at parks management,&8221; Bailey said. &8220;This process allows us to take small steps in areas we need to manipulate not only for esthetics but for animal population as well.&8221;

Bailey said the plan has been found to be more efficient than select cuttings. He said in the end, it creates a base of mulch material so the area can be replanted with species that will have a better chance to grow. The areas cleared will be replanted with fruit and nut bearing trees as well as various grasses.

Once the project begins work is expected to take nine-12 days to complete. Bailey said there would be no interference with any of the trailheads or other recreational areas of the park.