Legislative Spotlight: Tennessee Wilderness Act
Moves are being made to protect some BEAUTIFUL areas of Tennessee! On June 28th, the U.S. Senate passed the Farm Bill, which included a provision that would designate nearly 20,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest as wilderness. Introduced by Tennessee’s own Republican Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, the Tennessee Wilderness Act would preserve important watersheds and habitat for native wildlife such as the brook trout, black bear, bobcat, grey fox, and white-tailed deer. It would also safeguard popular migratory, breeding, and wintering habitat for the numerous local bird species.
A federal wilderness designation guarantees clean water, beautiful scenery, and a thriving wildlife habitat for generations to come. Hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and other various outdoor activities will continue to occur on these lands. This all supports the outdoor recreation industry and local tourism which is crucial to our state’s economic growth. The Tennessee Wilderness Actwould also create a new 9,000-acre Upper Bald River Wilderness Area. These lands are already in Cherokee National Forest, meaning they are already public lands, but they need stronger and permanent protections.
Tennessee’s Congressman Phil Roe has introduced a House companion bill to the Tennessee Wilderness Act. It’s great to see such incredible leadership from our state’s elected officials. But time is running out to get this done this Congress. We need to make sure this bill moves forward before the end of the year.
The American Conservation Coalition fully endorses the Tennessee Wilderness Actand commends everyone who has worked to get the legislation this far. This bill will preserve the beautiful forestry for countless people to enjoy while increasing Tennessee’s economy. We hope Congress will vote in favor of this measure. Contact your member of Congress here and let’s get this done this year!
Kirstin is a Senior at Keuka College in New York where she majors in History and Political Science. She is president of Keuka’s History, Political Science and Pre-Law club.