U.S. Forest Service’s Chattahoochee National Forest management project silences public input for decades

Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest is the most visited public land, with popular attractions like the Upper Desoto Falls. Now, the U.S. Forest service is proposing a massive project there that involves logging, burning, herbicide application, and changing recreational access.

By / Southern Environmental Law Centre

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing a massive forest management project in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest, the state’s largest and most visited public land. Comments on the proposal that came out right before the holidays must be submitted to the Forest Service by Jan. 10, 2020 and can be done here.

The mammoth project, known as the Foothills Landscape Project, would allow the Forest Service to log, burn, build “temporary” roads, and close or reroute trails at undisclosed locations within a massive 157,000-acre project area (roughly twice the size of the city of Atlanta) with no guarantee of participation from members of the public who visit and love those lands.

Ultimately, the proposal gives the Forest Service free rein to implement potentially detrimental actions for decades to come. The worst aspect of the Foothills Landscape Project proposal is that it would strip the public’s input on management decisions. As part of the project, the Forest Service will not make decisions about where logging, burning, and road building will occur until public participation opportunities guaranteed by law have passed.