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  protectgeorgia.net Wednesday, April 23, 2014  

Keep the Chattooga Wild & Scenic

Issue

The Chattooga River, which runs through the northeastern part of the state, is Georgia's only federally designated Wild & Scenic river. The headwaters of the Chattooga are an ecologically sensitive area that meander through Ellicott Rock Wilderness.

More Information

Citizen groups have reviewed the U.S. Forest Service Environmental Assessment and found it unacceptable as written.

Below are some key talking points to consider when you comment:

-The proposal does not appear to ensure the solitude and other "outstanding remarkable values" required by law to be protected over all other considerations in the Ellicott Rock Wilderness.

-The Environmental Assessment and proposed Alternative 4 (to allow some boating) are geared toward the preference of boaters, but ignore the needs of the many people who visit the Upper Chattooga corridor for traditional pastimes like swimming, hiking, camping, hunting, botanizing, nature photography and "getting away from it all for that rarest of experiences, solitude."

-The Forest Service proposal for boating does not clearly commit the law enforcement and resource protection personnel necessary to regulate a new, intrusive form of regulation and to educate the public about the new rules in this part of the river corridor.

-The proposal does not consistently and properly prevent the removal from the Chattooga of large woody debris, which is essential to the natural functioning of the river and the health of fish and other aquatic life. Nor does it protect the various sensitive native plant species also found in the corridor.

-Those pushing hard for new access already have miles and miles of challenging white water nearby on the 36 miles of the lower Chattooga, on Overflow and Holcomb Creeks, and on the West Fork, where boating is already legal and permitted.

For a summary of the Forest Service position as well as a 160-page Environmental Assessment, visit the Forest Service website at:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/fms/forest/projects/ChattoogaDraftEA.shtml

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