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State Game Lands Take the 'CURE'
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RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 29)—A program to create habitat for quail and other small animals is spreading onto public lands, according to Wildlife in North Carolina magazine.

CURE, the Cooperative Upland-habitat Restoration and Enhancement program, was launched by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in 2000. Across the state, dozens of private landowners—many of them farmers—have agreed to manage their land in ways that will provide habitat for quail, rabbits, songbirds and other small wildlife. Clean-farming practices and other land uses over the past century have eliminated much of the weeds and brush that these species need to survive.

Now public lands are taking the CURE, according to an article in the September issue of the state’s wildlife magazine. Four Wildlife Commission-owned game lands have set aside areas that incorporate CURE land-management principles:

bulletSandhills Game Land, consisting of 58,000 acres near the town of Rockingham;
bulletCaswell Game Land, 16,000 acres in Caswell County;
bulletSuggs Mill Pond Game Land, 8,000 acres near Fayetteville;
bulletand South Mountains Game Land, 20,000 acres near Morganton.

The use of both public and private lands for the CURE program maximizes the advantages of each. Public lands grant more freedom to land managers. Because there are few buildings or croplands to take into account on public lands, more trees can be thinned, understory burned, native plants sown and fields left fallow. However, public lands tend to be more heavily forested, which requires more initial logging to create suitably open habitat. And privately owned acreage far outnumbers that of public lands.

Hunters who enjoy the state-owned game lands do not need to worry that the creation of habitat for small-game and nongame animals will be at the expense of big game. Deer will benefit from new, tender leaves, and wild turkeys will take advantage of the brushy habitat.

“We think we can achieve a healthy balance of habitats and wildlife on our game lands,” said David Cobb, chief of the commission’s Division of Wildlife Management, “and we hope North Carolinians will be patient through the early stages of the process.”
 

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