Allegheny Defense Project ...working for the protection of the natural heritage of the Alleghenies...

May 29, 2003

For Immediate Release
Contacts: Jim Kleissler or Ryan Talbott, (814) 223-4996

Conservation Group Introduces Science-based Management Plan for Allegheny National Forest

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Clarion, PA - Today, the Allegheny Defense Project (ADP) issued a 66 page report that recommends significant changes in the 513,000 acre Allegheny National Forest - Pennsylvania's only national forest. Titled "Allegheny Wild! A Citizen Vision for the Allegheny National Forest", the report reviews the U.S. Forest Service's 1986 management plan's emphasis on even-aged logging and calls for a publicly supported, major re-balancing of priorities, values, and uses.

The Allegheny Defense Project points to scientific research on watersheds, wildlife, and soils as well as existing statutory conservation requirements in support of its proposal. The Allegheny Wild! plan would protect an additional 45,000 acres as federal Wilderness Study Areas while providing jobs doing conservation-oriented restoration work in the national forest. The plan also phases out industrial practices such as clearcutting and oil & gas drilling to provide improved recreation opportunities and scenic management. Over 200 miles of new hiking, bicycle, cross-country ski and horse trails are proposed.

"The landscape of the Allegheny has been drastically altered over the last 120 years by continuous commercial logging. Few remnants of our original Allegheny hemlock-beech forests remain. These remnants are a repository of biological information that gives the forest its ability to weather ecological crises," explained Jim Kleissler, Forest Watch Director for the ADP. "Strong protections are vital to this forest's ability to respond to continuing threats imposed by air pollution, elevated deer populations, and invasive species. By protecting and expanding our elder forest remnants as biological databases we are providing a tool for restoration of our native Allegheny forests."

"People look to the National Forest System to provide wilderness-quality recreation. These opportunities are currently more limited on the Allegheny than on most other eastern National Forests," said Karen Wood-Campbell, an ADP board member based in Pittsburgh, PA. "Under the Allegheny Wild! Proposal, the Allegheny National Forest would give hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and cross-country skiers more trails to use, more wilderness areas to explore, and fewer blights upon the landscape. This in turn will bring more people - and more money - to the economies surrounding the Allegheny."

The Allegheny Wild! management plan was released today as the delayed revision of the Allegheny National Forest's 1986 management plan has finally begun. Under federal law each national forest must have a management plan which must be revised every 10 to 15 years. The Allegheny Defense Project's report stresses the fact that Allegheny forests are managed predominantly for clearcut logging practices which should be eliminated. The report recommends the designation of a 17,000-acre Wilderness area surrounding the Tionesta Scenic and Research Natural Areas - a National Natural Landmark and the largest old growth forest in Pennsylvania.

"While over 90% of the Allegheny National Forest is open to logging, less than 2% is managed for federally designated Wilderness. The Allegheny is also host to more oil and gas wells than the other 154 national forests combined. There is a need for immediate action to protect the few wild areas remaining in the Allegheny National Forest," said ADP Forest Watch Coordinator Ryan Talbott.

The Allegheny Defense Project's plan would return the Allegheny to its roots, by restoring the original mission of this national forest as it was established in 1923 by President Calvin Coolidge: to protect watersheds. The Allegheny Wild! proposal would also set aside important habitats for endangered species while implementing a modified version of a 1995 U.S. Forest Service plan to manage 100-year old forest areas as future old growth. The Forest Service stopped implementing the old growth plan in 1999.

"The Allegheny National Forest is important as a refuge for numerous rare and endangered plants and animals including the Indiana bat and Northern Water Shrew," said Ron Cook, an ADP supporter and board member living outside of Jamestown, New York. "Soils, watershed, and wildlife conservation are largely ignored although they are part of the Forest Service's mission as mandated by the U.S. Congress."

"The Allegheny Wild! vision is a crucial step towards conserving this region's natural heritage," explained Tom Bachelder, a school teacher from Ohio. "The Allegheny is home to a remarkably beautiful mix of northern hardwoods and eastern hemlock trees growing amidst large, stunning rock outcroppings and boulders. If we do not act today to protect this special piece of America we will be doing a great disservice to future generations."

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Download the Allegheny Wild! Report

Cover Page
Executive Summary
Allegheny Wild Main Report Body
Allegheny Wild! supplement - Area by Area Descriptions
Attachment 1 - 1923 Proclamation establishing the Allegheny National Forest
Attachment 2 - A Proposal for Tionesta Wilderness Designation in the Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania, USA
Attachment 3 - A Landscape Approach to Providing Late-Successional Forests and Associated Functions and Values on the Allegheny National Forest
Attachment 4 - Petition for Critical Summer Habitat for the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)
Attachment 5 - Incidental Take Permits Issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)
Attachment 6 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica Cerulea) as Threatened with Critical Habitat
Attachment 7 - Citizens' Call for Ecological Forest Restoration: Forest Restoration Principles and Criteria
Attachment 8 - U.S. Forest Service Freedom of Information Act filing dated September 13, 2001
Attachment 9 - Petition to Enhance and Expand Regulations Governing the Administration of Recreational Off-Road Vehicle Use on National Forests

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Download the Allegheny Wild! Maps

Proposed Allegheny Wild! Map

This map demonstrates what special areas management of the Allegheny National Forest would look like upon full implementation of the Allegheny Wild! Citizen's Alternative. View this map

Allegheny National Forest Today

This map shows special areas management under the existing 1986 Forest Plan. View this map

Comparison Map

This page shows the Allegheny Wild! Vision map and the Allegheny National Forest Today map side-by-side. View this map
Proposed Management Area
html
pdf
Management Areas 3.1 and 3.2 - Forest Restoration Areas
Management Area 5.0 - Wilderness Areas
Management Area 5.1 - Wild & Scenic River Corridors
Management Area 5.2 - Wilderness Trout Streams
Management Area 6.1 - Watershed Protection Management
Management Area 6.2 - North Country National Scenic Trail Corridor
Management Area 6.3 - Waterfowl Management Areas
Management Area 6.4 - National Recreation Areas
Management Area 6.5 - Forest Recreation Areas
Management Area 6.6 - Dispersed Recreation Areas
Management Area 6.7 - Motorized Recreation Areas
Management Area 7.0 - Kane Experimental Forest
Management Area 8.0 - Scenic Areas
Management Area 8.1 - Research Natural Areas
Management Area 8.2 - Old Growth Management Corridors
Management Area 9.1 - Forest Natural Areas
Management Area 9.2 - Forest Historic Areas

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