A large group of pine trees planted by Aldo Leopold in the late 1930s near Riley is threatened by the American Transmission company Rockdale to West Middleton transmission line project.


These trees were part of the Riley Game Cooperative, which was started in the late 1930s by Aldo Leopold and local farmers. It was here that Leopold developed and tested his game management theories, including the restoration of cover for wildlife..

Above is a section of the original map of the game preserve, and Leopold has noted how well this group of pines (marked "1" ) is doing.

A 2005 photo of the area, the same group of pines is the dark circle at top enter. This is one of just a small number of the original plantings remanding, and is probably the best example.

The American Transmission Company route map for one of the possible transmission line routes. The center of the route passes directly through the pines, and the Leopold trees would be clear cut if the line takes this path. In addition a mile long line of mature oaks, some of the last remnants of the oak savanna that once covered this area is threatened as well..

A ground level view of some of the pine trees. These are 60 to 100 feet fall now, and could maybe use some thinning, but certainly not clear cutting. This may be the last untouched stand of Leopold pines in the area. In an era where just thinning the pines near the Leopold "shack" makes the front page of the newspaper, it is surprising that these could be considered for clear cutting. As you can see some were planted in rows which was typical of the time. Not all the trees are in rows though, it looks like they tried to break the pattern up after the first row.