The U.S. Forest Service and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is closing a parcel of the Monongahela National Forest during a helicopter logging operation for safety reasons. The decision comes shortly after a recent case when a deer hunter had to jump from his stand to avoid the blades of a tree-trimming helicopter hired by Duke Power in Indiana, an incident which remains under internal investigation.

The logging begins just three weeks before the opening of West Virginia’s buck season, and the timing has upset some local hunters. Many others, however, are pleased to see active timber management taking place on the forest. Many national forests have long been in need of thinning and cutting to promote early forest succession and to provide habitat for ruffed grouse, golden-winged warbler and many other species.