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Clear Cut Need for Revision - George Washington National Forest in Western VA
Clear Cut Need for Revision
This week the the U.S. Forest Service started its revision process for the 1.1-million acre George Washington National Forest in Western Virginia. Last revised in 1993, federal law requires the agency to update the plan at least every 15 years. The forest has long been a target for commercial logging, and according to a press release sent out by Virginia Forest Watch, the agency’s preliminary draft revision sites upcoming potential harvest at as much as 21 million board feet a year. That's five million more than what's been clear cut annually over the last five years.
“The numbers only tell part of the story,” says Sherman Bamford with VFW. “What matters in large part is where the logging is happening, and lately a lot has been happening in environmentally sensitive areas or in places that people care about.”
A coalition of conservation groups--including VFW, the Sierra Club, Southern Environmental Law Center, and The Wilderness Society--is speaking up for ecological restoration as the revision unfolds, hoping to take wild forest areas away from a path of logging (in many areas cutting old growth trees that are over 150 years old) and roadbuilding and toward management that is consistent with growing public support for water quality, recreation, and wilderness.
“The Forest Plan revision offers a rare opportunity for meaningful ecological restoration,” says David Hannah of Wild Virginia. “Occurring as it does in a very fragmented and changing landscape, the GW is one of the few places in the eastern United States where large areas of mature forest, and populations of native species they are home to, can be restored.”
If you agree and want to speak up for the George, public meetings start in March. Here is a schedule:
March 5 - Hot Springs Presbyterian Church - Hot Springs, VA
March 6 - Rockbridge High School - Lexington, VA
March 7 - National Gurad Armory - Woodstock, VA
March 8 - Alleghany County Governmental Complex - Covington, VA
March 10 - Rockingham County Government Office Building - Harrisonburg, VA
Posted by BRO Edit Team: Will Harlan, Graham Averill, and Jedd Ferris
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