Highland County Board of Supervisors June Meeting – Part 1
The Highland County Board of Supervisors held it’s monthly meeting June 7.
County Attorney Melissa Dowd presented an update on proposed legislation to create the Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area. The Board previously had questions about changes in the Lynn Hollow area in Highland, that is part of the proposal. Lynn Hollow is currently classified by the Forest Service as a roadless area and if the legislation passes, it will be designated a wilderness area. Dowd researched the differences between the two designations. She found that roadless areas cannot have new road construction, cannot have road reconstruction on old roads and cannot have timber harvesting, except only if needed such as for fire protection. Also, no motorized vehicles and no utility easements are allowed. Hunting, camping, hiking and horseback riding are permitted, but not with any motorized vehicle use.
Dowd said a wilderness designation has the same restrictions, according to her research, so the Lynn Hollow area will not change if the legislation passes. Board members had been concerned about tying up the land now and not having it available for use in the future. Dowd said that neither designation addresses those concerns, saying as a roadless area it is already very restricted now. She said the legislation does have very good points for other neighboring jurisdictions for watershed protection, such as Staunton and Harrisonburg.
Supervisor John Moyers, Jr. said he’s heard lots of comments from people who don’t want the wilderness area designation, even if it’s basically the same as the current roadless area designation. He said the Board didn’t have a chance to comment before the legislation was introduced. The representative from Friends of Shenandoah Mountain planned to meet with the Board a second time with more information, but cancelled. Supervisor Moyers said he wanted to express that they don’t appreciate not being able to meet and comment. Supervisor David Blanchard expressed concern about the land being taken out of service, with no plan from the Forest Service for any use of it, even for some recreation. He said he sees the benefit of being supportive of neighboring counties, but he was concerned by the process where the Board did not hear from the Forest Service about the proposal. Dowd will draft a letter, expressing the Board’s concerns, for review at the close out meeting on June 28.
To hear more from the Highland County Board of Supervisors June meeting, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.