Donate through or set up a recurring monthly donation through Paypal: Click Here
Georgia ForestWatch is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization based in North Georgia. All donations are tax deductible.
81 Crown Mountain Place
Building C, Suite 200
Dahlonega, GA 30533
Dear ForestWatch Friend,
Thank you for all you’ve done for Georgia’s forests. Whether you’re a recent member who’s stayed with Georgia ForestWatch through this difficult year or a long-time member who helped end clear-cutting on Georgia’s national forests, you have made a difference. Georgia ForestWatch truly is a member-based organization.
If this year has felt out of control, we hope you’ve found some ways to keep your spirits up. For many, the relative tranquility of our national forests has been part of the solution. Our forests inspire us and bring us joy while providing clean water and critical wildlife habitat.
However, our forests are not as tranquil as they appear. The calm surface hides much more activity than most people realize. Some of that activity could have shocking results, but you and people like you have been steering decisions away from that damaging path.
The Foothills Landscape Project, the largest project in CONF (Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest) history, may have seemed to disappear, but the Forest Service has actually been busy processing the 2,000+ public comments they received about the project early this year. That engagement with this unprecedented project would not have happened without your help. You and our partners have also pushed Foothills towards a better path by keeping CONF officials up-to-date on the legal defeats suffered by a very similar approach. We remain hopeful that the Forest Service will ultimately change their approach to this project that would authorize over 50,000 acres of timber harvesting.
We thought the Forest Service would continue pushing huge landscape projects like Foothills, but now national regulatory rollbacks are opening the door for even traditional Forest Service timber projects to skip long-standing environmental review and public participation requirements. Of over 100 rollbacks, one of the best outcomes was the Forest Service’s changes to their National Environmental Policy Act regulations. Thanks to you and people like you in other organizations, the Forest Service abandoned many sweeping changes that would have put the Forest at risk. While they retained some disturbing new exemptions, they also scaled back many exemptions.
Your support also generated gains for public participation on a local level. The CONF switched its position and committed to formal environmental review and public comment for each of 30 Forest Service tracts authorized for sale.
But the environment is at risk not only in project planning, but also project implementation. That’s why volunteer District Leaders, ForestWatch Staff, and members like you visited Forest Service timber harvests in the field and compared commitments for environmental safeguards to what’s actually happening on the ground. For the most part, we found the logging is staying within the guidelines. However, we did encounter “temporary” roads dumping excessive sediment into headwater streams.
In order to see through to the finish what you’ve started this year, Georgia ForestWatch needs your financial support now. Foothills will again be a major priority next year. You can help challenge dangerous exemptions to environmental review included in the new Forest Service NEPA regulations. You can also help protect Georgia’s Mountain Treasures, the most significant wild areas, by spreading the word to new audiences with videos such as this one. Most of the video footage has already been shot for several other target areas.
Georgia ForestWatch is also investing in you. We’re doubling down on volunteers with an entire member advocacy program that this year included training presentations on the life of a Forest Service project and the options for permanent forest protection. We’ve also conducted training field trips to Forest Service projects, and developed new tools to help volunteers monitor Forest Service timber harvests. Next year we’ll depend on your skills, experience, and passion even more as the advocacy program shifts to take action on protecting streams from sedimentation.
We’ve also taken a major step to make sure we’re using your donations as efficiently as possible by revising ForestWatch’s strategic plan. Working backwards, we prioritized and aligned all of our programs to directly support our mission. With what each program needs to truly succeed in mind, we developed measurable goals and a timeline to track our progress.
As you think about all that the Forest and the wild places in Georgia mean to you, I hope that you will help us build on this momentum with your donation today. Please make a tax-deductible donation to Georgia ForestWatch using the insert or online at gafw.org/donate. You can also help protect Georgia’s national forests with a recurring monthly donation, an IRA distribution, or through our legacy giving program. Thank you for considering financially supporting Georgia ForestWatch.
You are part of an organization making a real difference for the preservation, protection, and restoration of our Forest. No other place on earth has the same vistas, species, and communities as our wild north Georgia, and it relies on the generous support from kind and caring people like you. Thank you.
Jess Riddle, Executive Director
P.S. You can also help the Forest by spreading the word to your friends or colleagues who value clean water, wildlife, and wilderness.