Attorney General ruling allows tree cutting in southeast Oklahoma

Wednesday, August 18th 2004, 6:02 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The attorney general says state wildlife officials may cut small hardwood trees and burn undergrowth in a protected wilderness area in southeastern Oklahoma.

Tuesday's ruling by Attorney General Drew Edmondson is the latest episode in a battle over management of the McCurtain County Wilderness Area.

The ruling supports a policy the wildlife department has used for 12 years, thinning hardwoods from the area.

Wildlife officials say the thinning and controlled burns are needed to control growth of hardwoods that threaten the native tall pines and the endangered woodpeckers that live there.

Democratic state Senator Jeff Rabon of Hugo -- who requested the opinion -- says the ruling is confusing and somewhat contradictory.