Work begins to clear tornado debris at Natchez Trace forest

May 25, 2022 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee agriculture officials say work has begun to clean up debris at Natchez Trace State Forest after a December tornado damaged the park.

A tornado that tore through Henderson County on Dec. 10 made a path about 6 miles (9 kilometers) long through the forest, causing heavy damage to about 1,400 acres (566 hectares), the state Agriculture Department said in a news release.

The goal of the operation is to rehabilitate the forest by clearing tree debris to allow public access and improve forest health, officials said. Crews have started harvesting logs of pine and hardwood trees, department spokesman Tim R. Phelps said.

Work is expected to last until December. Public roads in the forest will see increased traffic from logging and equipment trucks. Additional timber harvesting operations also are planned, officials said.

Forest visitors are asked “to be patient as these operations are being conducted,” the news release said.