Kisatchie Training Area
The Kisatchie National Forest encompasses approximately 604,000 acres of national forest land in northwest and west-central Louisiana. Down in the State of Louisiana, spread across areas of 7 parishes (that's what counties are called) is the Kisatchie National Forest - Louisiana's only National Forest. The Forest is comprised of 5 managed land units, called Ranger Districts, and totals over 604,000 acres of public lands.
The Kisatchie has alot to offer visitors, such as 355 miles of trails for hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, or ORV riding. Other recreational opportunities include four lakes, an 8700 acre Wilderness, and dozens of camping sites. The Forest also provides opportunities to hunt and fish.
The Forest is also actively engaged in management activities that emphasize restoration and conservation of the Forest's natural resources, including two National Wildlife Preserves. The Forest regularly partners with other agencies and non-profit organizations, such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana State Wildlife and Fisheries, Ducks Unlimited, The National Turkey Federation, and The Natural Conservancy, to better manage these resources.
The Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) and Fort Polk is located in Vernon Parish, in west-central Louisiana. The main post consists of 107,024 acres that are divided between Army fee-owned land on the northern portion of the post (66,998 acres) and Forest Service fee-owned land on the southern portion (40,026 acres) referred to as the Intensive Use Area (IUA). Portions of the Vernon Unit and Kisatchie District of the Kisatchie National Forest are designated as the Intensive Use Area. The IUA is used intensively by the Army under the terms of a Special Use Permit (SUP) agreement between the Forest Service and Fort Polk.
An area contiguous to and south of the main post is used for less intensive military training under the terms of the SUP an is known as the Limited Use Area (LUA). The LUA consists of 44,799 acres that are fee-owned and managed by the Forest Service.
North of Peason Ridge is an area referred to as the Special Limited Use Area (SLUA) in the SUP, consisting of 12,820 acres. The SLUA is made available for limited training by JRTC and Fort Polk. Peason Ridge is a non-contiguous training area north of the main post consisting of Army lands (33,011 acres) and Forest Service lands (480 acres).
In October 1999, the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army articulated a vision to posture the Army to meet the demands of the 21st century. Transformation addresses the need for change based on emerging security challenges of the 21st century. Chief among these challenges is the need to be able to respond more rapidly to different types of operations requiring military action. The Army proposes to implement force transformation and mission capability enhancements at Fort Polk with respect to facilities construction. The purpose of the proposed action is to bring the Interim Force to operational capability.
Proposed land transactions include continued use of Kisatchie National Forest lands through Special Use Permit agreement between the Army and Forest Service and use of private, non-residential lands under contractual lease or other agreement. No acquisition of land through purchase or withdrawal of public domain lands is proposed. Construction activities proposed in the IUA include: approximately 18 miles of new road construction and improvements, including stream crossings, and modernization of existing firing ranges. Proposed construction activities in the LUA include: stream crossing and road/trail improvements at up to 38 sites, upgrade of existing roads and road segments, and potential construction of new roads.
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