Abundant wildflowers, towering white pines, scenic hiking trails, and sparkling trout streams that draw visitors from all over Georgia make Cooper Creek a significant and cherished part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. For five years now, Georgia ForestWatch has been confronting the poorly designed Cooper Creek Project that threatens this special area. Many people have written the Forest Service voicing their concerns, and improvements have been made to the project. However, some of the worst parts remain.
Georgia ForestWatch, along with our partner The Sierra Club, has filed a lawsuit challenging the project. We are particularly concerned that the Cooper Creek project authorizes industrial logging in areas that were designated off limits to that activity during the last Forest Plan revision.
Since 2014, we have tried to work with the Forest Service to find solutions that would meet their priorities while adequately protecting forests and streams in the Cooper Creek area. We have also asked the Forest Service to abide by commitments made in its Forest Plan about where commercial logging would occur. We are seeking relief in the courts only as a last resort.
Cooper Creek is a special place. As recognized in the Forest Plan, the area is better suited for recreation, wildlife, and conservation than for commercial logging. It deserves better than this project.
Articles on the topic in previous issues of Forest News :