Hellbender Journal Summer/Fall
What's Your Vision
of a Wild Allegheny?
By Rachel Martin
walking down a trail in the premier backpacking area in Pennsylvania.
You've been hiking for four days now, and have yet to cross a road,
or hear a car. It's getting near nightfall, and time to make camp.
You pitch your tent beneath a 150-year-old hemlock tree, and pause
as you see a fisher's sleek outline dart between two sandstone boulders
in the distance. Once inside your tent, you hear the lonesome wail
of a gray wolf in the distance.
multiple-day hiking trip? No cars? No roads? WOLVES?! Where in Pennsylvania
is this place?
this place doesn't exist - yet. This is just one vision of the Allegheny
National Forest twenty-five years from now.
Allegheny Defense Project has recently launched our Allegheny Wild!
Campaign which seeks to develop a pro-active vision of Pennsylvania's
only national forest through a grassroots effort. At its core, Allegheny
Wild! will advocate for an end to commercial extraction, designation
of wilderness, a pesticide-free forest, improved low-impact recreation
opportunities, and greater protections for the habitats of rare,
threatened, and endangered species.
campaign is based around the Forest Service's revision of its 15-year-old
Forest Plan. The Forest Plan dictates the way in which the national
forest will be managed for the next ten to fifteen years. The current
Forest Plan for the Allegheny National Forest emphasizes clearcut
logging, tree farming, road-building, and oil and gas development
over wildlife, recreation, and watersheds.
Wild! seeks to shift this management from resource-extraction to
ecosystem restoration. We will be using the opportunity provided
by the Forest Plan revision process to put forth a more ecologically-sensitive,
restorative plan for the national forest.
Forest Service will not be starting the Forest Plan revision process
until 2003, but now is the time to begin the process of imagining
a wild Allegheny. To do that, we are asking for your input about
what a wild Allegheny would entail for you. Send us your ideas for
protecting remote hunting and fishing areas, designating more Wilderness,
controlling invasive species, improving old and establishing new
hiking trails, defining canoe trails, and so on. Allegheny Wild!
is an alternative that takes its cues from citizens rather than
the course of the next year, ADP will be holding public meetings
throughout the region to get more detailed input about how national
forest landholders want to see their land managed. Look for dates,
places, and times coming soon on our website at www.alleghenydefense.org.
Contact us to set up a roadshow date near you. Send e-mail or call
the ADP at email@example.com
or (814) 223-4996 to get on our Allegheny Wild! information list.
Additionally, next summer, after we have collected information about
possible protected areas, we will need your help in getting out
in the woods to learn more about them on the ground.
Howard Zahniser, Allegheny-area native and author of the 1964 Wilderness
Act said, "Working to preserve into perpetuity is a great inspiration...We
are not fighting progress. We are making it."
are looking forward to working with you to make progress toward
an Allegheny Wild!
Photo art by Rachel Martin
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