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Revamping the "Shell" Station

By: Bill Pearson
By: Bill Pearson

An entire section of Reed Bingham State Park in Cook County is about to undergo a major makeover.

Chet Powell of Reed Bingham State Park says, "We're going to restore the area behind me here to what it was originally, and should be, not just for the gopher tortoises, but for quite a few animals and even the plant community."

Hundreds of these pine trees will be removed carefully, so the tortoise habitats, which are marked with flags, are not damaged.

Bernard Sumlin, a logger, says, "Well, we're able to do the job well with that machine. We can just cut the tree, pick it up. It's not something we do all the time, but we're able to do it."

Once the old trees are removed, they will be replaced with several hundred long leaf pines, which will enhance the environment.

Many gopher tortoise holes will be affected by the changes to this environment. Managers say the change will go a long way in making it a better place for the gopher tortoise to live.

Powell adds, "What we want to do is re-establish wire grass where it's beneficial to a lot of animal life, gophers especially. Quail will return. They're already starting to return."

This is helping restore this sensitive echo system to its original form.


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