George Washington National Forest – How Should We Manage It?

Ever hike, fish, or hunt in Massanutten?  Been to the vista point at Big Schloss, or enjoyed the view of the forested mountains as you travel on I-66 or I-81?

The US Forest Service is revising the Forest Plan for resource management over the next 10 to 15 years of 1.1 million acres of land in Virginia and West Virginia.   Lands for the George Washington National Forest were acquired, starting in 1912, to protect the watersheds of navigable rivers.  The entire national forest is located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and today it contains 1,171 miles of perennial streams (of which over 700 miles support a cold water fishery).

The Forest Service’s preferred alternative, Alternative G, would protected the water quality by blocking most uses of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for drilling natural gas wells.  The Marcellus Shale underneath the forest is not the richest in hydrocarbons, but there is still the potential for drilling…

Comments on the draft Forest Plan must be submittted by September 1.  Send them to comments-southern-georgewashington-jefferson@fs.fed.us

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