Protecting SPECIAL AREAS in the Foothills

Several unique areas in the Foothills Landscape provide exceptional habitat, and you can help protect them. We recently surveyed these special areas, called Georgia’s Mountain Treasures, for this exact purpose: helping the Forest Service know where to preserve the natural ecosystem and keep the big machines out.

In the formal project review of the Foothills Landscape Project, the Forest Service is refusing to identify the specific places they intend to cut trees, apply herbicides, and light fires. The Forest Service has not recognized these special areas or made any commitment to protect them.

You can read more about the following Georgia’s Mountain Treasures within the Foothills Landscape in the book:

  • Grassy Mountain (p. 31)
  • Springer Mountain (p. 49)
  • Thrifts Ferry (p. 71)
  • Big Shoals (p. 65)
  • Five Falls (p. 67)

We’d love your help and voice expressing improvements to this project. Tell the Forest Service how you want these unique areas managed by Friday January 10th.

Below is an example to help you create your own comment to the Forest Service on this specific issue.

Example Comment:

Dear Supervisor Jewett,
Several of the wildest places left in North Georgia lie in the Foothills. These Georgia Mountain Treasures are special areas, and I would like to see them protected and valued in the Foothills Landscape Project.
I could talk about how they are refuges for wildlife. Or I could talk about how if you want to see the cleanest water we have left, they are the places to go. I could even talk about how they connect to protected areas in other landscapes, and how that connectivity is getting more important as the changing climate forces plants and animals to move.
What I want to talk about, though, is what they mean to me. I want places where I can explore. Places where I can find myself. Places that have a little mystery left. When I run into a road, all the magic disappears. It doesn’t matter if the road is paved, gravel, or a “temporary” road. Some brier-filled patch of woods where half the trees were cut a few years ago isn’t any better.
The Foothills are a place of adventure, peace, and beauty, but there are only a few places left where it hasn’t been cut into bite-sized pieces. Less than a quarter-of-one-percent of the Foothills is Wilderness. None of the Foothills is designated remote backcountry. These Mountain Treasures are unique, and they should be protected.
I am not saying never set foot in them. Cutting some little maple trees that are going to rot in two years is no big deal. Fire is part of nature. I am just saying don’t put any kind of roads into these areas, and don’t chop down a bunch of the tall trees.
These places mean something to me. Please let them be.

Sincerely,

Example Comment 2:

Dear Supervisor Jewett,
Thank you for all your hard work for the people and forests of North Georgia. I appreciate this opportunity to comment on the Foothills Landscape Project and hope my comments will be helpful.
If there’s anything that we should all be able to agree on, it’s that we need clean air and clean water. That’s why the remaining roadless areas in the Foothills are so important to me. They are our absolute best chance to have really clean water anywhere in the Foothills.
Please don’t make new roads in our roadless areas. The document you provided to describe the project says roads dump more sediment into streams than any other management activity. Even “temporary” roads disrupt water flow and can turn into raw gashes that pollute our streams.
Please don’t harvest trees in our roadless areas. Surely there are better places than our roadless areas to cut trees and have big machines drag them through the woods. The places that are scraped off to load the logs onto the trucks are even worse.
Please don’t use any herbicides in our roadless area. There seems to be more bad news about them every day. We can’t count on them to stay out of the water, and who knows what’s really in some of them. Surely you can find some way to manage the forest without resorting to poisons.
So many streams and lakes have been fouled that it’s hard to find places that still have really clean water. It would make me sad to think that we aren’t taking care of the few in our roadless areas.
I appreciate your time and consideration.
Warmly,

ALSO: We’d be happy to provide feedback and accuracy suggestions before submitting your comments. Reply to this email or send draft comments to alinker@gafw.org by Tuesday Jan 7th for review.

Official Comment Portal to give feedback on Foothills

See more info and resources surrounding Foothills

You are able to submit multiple comments as information becomes available

One big problem with the Foothills Landscape Project:
it asks people to give up their rights to participate for the next 20 years.

Key Dates:
01/10/2020 30-Day Comment period ENDS!
12/11/2019 Official 30-Day Comment period began
12/2/2019 Draft Environmental Assessment released

Example comment letters:
process changes
recreation
logging and herbicides

More Resources: