Take a step to protect the George Washington National Forest today.
The George Washington is the national forest with the largest collection of federal lands in the greater Chesapeake Bay watershed. In May, the Forest Service released the draft forest plan and an associated environmental impact statement for the Forest. After the agency hears from the public it will develop and approve a final Forest Plan in late 2011 or early 2012.
The draft plan would pick Alternative G, which the Sierra Club opposes. Among the reasons: Alternative G limits new wilderness recommendations to a mere 5 % of potential acreage (20,400 acres out of 372,000 acres in the Forest Service’s list of eligible areas). Alternative G allows road development and logging in parts of many unroaded areas. This alternative also allows old growth logging in two of the Forest’s major forest types. And it does not protect all of the Virginia Natural Heritage program sites recommended for protection in 1991, 2000, and subsequent biological diversity reports.
The Forest Service has published a Draft Forest Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement Plans for the George Washington National Forest. Copies of these documents, as well as maps, appendices, a transportation analysis, and other backing documents are available here
We are asking the Forest Service to:
1.) Plan for climate change by protecting core wilderness areas, reducing forest fragmentation and decreasing and eliminating non-climate stresses such as logging, road building and oil and gas leasing.
2.) Protect all areas identified in the Virginia’s Mountain Treasures publication to the degree possible by designating them as unsuitable for timber harvest, new road building, and surface-occupying oil and gas drilling
3.) Protect all roadless areas, whether previously inventoried or recently identified, consistent with the provisions of the 2001 Roadless Rule
4.) Protect all existing Old Growth forest
The first choice among existing alternatives is Alternative C, the conservation alternative, modified so that it is consistent with the Friends of Shenandoah Mountain proposal. Alternative C addresses the four priorities above in a way that is far superior to the other existing alternatives.
Comment Deadline Extended! The comment period for the Draft Forest Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement has been extended to October 17, 2011.
Written comments can be submitted to the following address:
George Washington Plan Revision
George Washington & Jefferson National Forests
5162 Valleypointe Parkway
Roanoke, VA 24019
Electronic comments can be submitted to the following address:
Va Mountain Treasures Video
See the “Virginia Mountain Treasures” multimedia video.
“Mountain treasure areas” are 130 remote and special areas throughout the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Ranging in size from less than 1000 acres to over 31,000 acres, mountain treasure areas provide superb backcountry recreation and important habitat for wildlife, such as black bears, salamanders, and deep forest songbirds.
This presentation, developed by Virginia Forest Watch, is a multimedia slideshow featuring music and narrative by people from across the Southern Appalachians telling why they love these areas.
We hope to inspire Virginians to visit, enjoy, and embrace protection of mountain treasure areas on Virginia’s national forests.
Upcoming showings –
September 30-Oct. 2 weekend:
Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club, Fall Annual Gathering
Prince William Forest Park, Triangle, Virginia, near Quantico. Camp 2 (Camp Mahwavi).
Time and date of showing to be determined.
Note: this is part of a special all-weekend event with cabin-camping, and numerous other presentations and events. Day or weekend registration fee required. Click here for more information or to register.
New River Group program.
More details to follow.