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Contact: Patricia Murphy (202) 224-0082

Date:  July 14, 1999

Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests would be protected

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Max Cleland (D-GA) today joined in the effort to protect America's national forests by co-sponsoring S. 1368, "The Act to Save America's Forests."  The legislation is designed to preserve the integrity and health of national forests by prohibiting clear cutting on federal lands and by creating designations for various types of federal lands to reflect sensitive or unique portions of the forests.

"We in Georgia are blessed to have some of the most beautiful and pristine National Forest lands in the country right in our own back yard," Senator Cleland said.  "However, along with those natural resources comes a very real responsibility to protect them.  Clear cutting on federal land devastates not only the trees which are harvested but also the wildlife and ecosystms that have taken root there.  This bill eliminates clear cutting while offering many areas economically viable alternatives such as selective timbering and thinning for the industries which would be affected by the prohibition."

In addition to the ban on clear cutting, the bill would create "core" areas of federal lands where all logging and road building activities would be totally prohibitied.  It would also create designations of Ancient Forests, Roadless Areas, Watershed Protection Areas, Special Areas and Federal Boundary Areas where various types of intrusive activities would also be prohibited.

"I strongly support the new designations given to especially sensitive portions of our federal lands, including the Armuchee Cluster and the Blue Ridge Corridor in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest," Cleland continued.   "These areas provide unique and ever decreasing habitat and biological resources for our state.  There are too many challenges facing these delicate lands without more intrusive and damaging attacks against them.  If they are destroyed or damaged, we will never be able to duplicate them again.  We need to take steps to save them before it is too late."