On a cloudy and cold Friday morning, I hiked up the steep powerline cut to the site of a 12 acre glade restoration project. I was told they had only just begun work on this big, broad flat in the Niangua Basin; these balds are pretty common in Niangua country--float from Bennett to Prosperine on the Niangua River and around mile 6 you'll see one similar to this one just around a bend. I've walked all over the one on the road to Ho-Humm, (it's totally trashed out), and every time I see it around mile 6 on a float, I want to cut the cedars off of it and send a headfire up to the road.
Anyway, it had only been a matter of days since they had hired the staff to do the work on this higher quality glade, but you certainly wouldn't know it looking at the progress they've made on clearing cedars. Stepping onto the glade next to the newly made lock box created to store tools at the site, the large stumps were visible for almost an acre. All this accomplished while also working on touching up firelines which had been installed in late October.
I've visited about five other glade restoration projects spearheaded by this remarkable team, and they've all been successful--no cedar skeletons left on the glade, no big burn out spots with nothing but fireweed and mullein, just quality glade vegetation that we sample after every burn to track restoration. Glade restoration projects are possibly one of the best "instant gratification" exercises, but only if they're accomplished properly--cut cedars, burn the cedars, burn the glade to keep woody sprouts like Carolina buckthorn and redbud from taking over. It's really easy, and I think this crew needs to write the manual.