Tennessee’s senators introduced federal legislation Wednesday that would preserve six different areas — a total of 19,556 acres — in the Cherokee National Forest as wilderness.
The Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010, sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker includes areas recommended for wilderness status by the U.S. Forest Service in the development of its comprehensive 2004 forest plan and have been managed as Wilderness Study Areas since that time.
“I grew up hiking in the mountains of East Tennessee and know firsthand that these beautiful landscapes should be preserved for generations to come,” Alexander said. “The bill we are introducing today is an important step in conserving some of the most pristine areas in Tennessee and will strengthen the legacy of Tennessee’s natural heritage.”
“We are blessed in East Tennessee with God-given amenities and an unparalleled natural environment, and the Cherokee National Forest is a prime example,” Corker said.
Congress began protecting wilderness areas in the Cherokee National Forest in 1975, with additional wilderness areas being established by the Tennessee Wilderness Acts of 1984 and 1986.
Since these areas are owned entirely by the U.S. Forest Service and are being managed as Wilderness Study Areas currently, this bill will have no effect on privately owned lands and will cause no change in access for the public.