Recently, a contractor, Eastern Red Cedar Mulch, LLC of Stillwater, Oklahoma was awarded a contract to clear Eastern Red Cedars from 20 acres in the Platt District in Chickasaw National Recreation Area. They utilize specialized equipment that was equipped with rubber tracks, which are light on the land, to clear cedar trees. After one to two months, the contractor will return to grind the dried cedar trees into landscape mulch, which will be distributed to the Dallas landscape mulch market. Piles of cut cedars can be seen from U.S. Highway 177 and the park's Southeast Perimeter Road.
The contractor cut all female and most male cedar trees in the 20 acre plot. Older male trees thought to be planted by the Civilian Conservation Corp were saved along with deciduous trees five inches and larger.
The removal of cedar trees with the use of control burns and mechanical reduction in Chickasaw National Recreation Area has been a continuous process for several years with plans to continue. The cedar trees are being removed to allow the native grass to re-establish and the prairie and remaining deciduous trees to prosper. Also, views and vistas will be returned to the historic Platt National Park area thus restoring the cultural landscape and conserving water.
Although Eastern Red Cedar and Ash Juniper are a native species to Oklahoma, they are extremely invasive and can only be controlled by fire or mechanical means (cutting). According to the Strategy for Control and Utilization of Invasive Juniper Species final report published December 11, 2002 by the Red Cedar Task Force, it is estimated that cedars are expanding by 762 acres per day or 300,000 acres per year.