Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area Proposal – Part 2

 

This is part two of our story on the proposed Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area.

Friends of Shenandoah Mountain has created a proposal to designate the Shenandoah Mountain area, between Route 250 and Route 33, as a National Scenic Area with several Wilderness areas included.  The proposal is 90,000 acres, in the George Washington National Forest, and it would protect the area from industrial development.

Lynn Cameron, the co-chair of Friends of Shenandoah Mountain, has more about the proposal’s creation.

“We’ve also worked closely with a whole range of forest users, including the timber industry, the game managers, hunting organizations,” says Cameron.  “Our proposal was originally larger than the 90,000 acres, but after collaborating and compromising with these other groups we were able to come up with the current proposal that we have.  Which is still very strong and, in fact, it’s made much stronger because more of the public can support it.  Some of the game managers would like to see more early successional habitat.  We support more early successional habitat.  This area would not be available for commercial timber, but we support more timber cutting across the National Forest.  And one thing that I think is real positive about our proposal, if you are looking at it from a hunting perspective, is there are multiple game clearings in the Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area proposal and all those will continue to be maintained and new ones will be added.  And also prescribed burning will be allowed in the National Scenic Area.”

If the proposal is approved by Congress, the area will still be managed by the Forest Service and activities, such as firewood collection, will continue just as they are now.

“A Scenic Area, it offers a permanent protection of the area from industrial development but all the roads and camp grounds and picnic areas would remain as they are,” says Cameron.  “No loss of any access or anything like that.  A Wilderness Area is more protected, but the Wilderness boundaries were drawn carefully so that there are no roads in the Wilderness Areas that we propose.  So, no roads are closed by the Wilderness.  Nature is the dominant force in Wilderness, but in all three of these categories, National Forest, National Scenic Area and Wilderness, you can fight fire and pests and rescue people.  There are some misconceptions about that.  It’s possible to take dozers in the Wilderness, if necessary, to fight fire to protect private property.  We don’t want to take access or anything away from people.  So, I think what we would have will protect the area, but people can continue to enjoy it just as they have for decades.”

“I know there are a lot of misconceptions and some of those arise from misunderstandings about Wilderness,” says Cameron.  “I’ve met with some people and have been really glad that I’ve had that opportunity.  They just hear Wilderness locks it up completely, you can’t maintain trails, you can’t hunt and none of that is true.  You can hunt all over it.  Really, I don’t think people will notice the difference when it’s designated.”

You can learn more at www.friendsofshenandoahmountain.org

To hear part one of this story, visit our website www.alleghenymountainradio.org

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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