Local Coalition Applauds Tennessee Wilderness Act Hearing In U.S. Senate Committee

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Tennessee Wild Coalition on Thursday applauded the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry’s hearing on the Tennessee Wilderness Act (S. 755).  The legislation was introduced by Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and is supported by a diverse coalition of hunters, anglers, business owners, faith leaders, outdoor recreationists, and conservationists.

The bill now awaits a Senate markup and introduction in the House of Representatives. 

 

The hearing comes at a critical time, as wilderness legislation is starting to move in Congress. With the Republicans in the majority in the House and Senate, the Tennessee Wild Coalition is hopeful that the bill will gain traction. Given that this is the fourth time the senators have introduced the Tennessee Wilderness Act with overwhelming local support, the coalition is urging Congress act.

 

"For those with a forward-thinking faith-based perspective, being a good steward of Cherokee National Forest means taking care of God’s creation for future generations,” said Jeff Wadley, a pastor in Maryville. "For many, wilderness is seen as a place where people draw close to God. I hope Congress follows our Senators' leads and passes the Tennessee Wilderness Act this year.”

 

The legislation would safeguard nearly 20,000 acres of public land in the Cherokee National Forest. It would expand the Joyce Kilmer Slickrock, Big Frog, Little Frog, Big Laurel Branch, and Sampson Mountain wilderness areas, and create the new 9,000-acre Upper Bald River Wilderness Area. 

 

Support for the Tennessee Wilderness is broad and deep. A survey by Ayres, McHenry & Associates, Inc.found that 74 percent of East Tennesseans support the bill. The support cut across party lines, with 70 percent of Republican, 76 percent of Independent, and 82 percent of Democratic voters supporting the proposal. 

 

“Hunting and fishing is part of who we are here in Tennessee and it is important to preserve that heritage,” said John Champion, a life-long fisherman who lives in Cleveland.  “Passing the Tennessee Wilderness Act would ensure that the forest stays the same the future generations to enjoy. Thank you, Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker for protecting our way of life. Now it is time for Congress to act.” 

The proposal, situated within the Cherokee National Forest, is an outdoor recreation haven boasting 4.5 miles of the Appalachian Trail, nearly 15 miles of the Benton MacKaye Trail, cold-water streams, and incredible wildlife.  With the passage of the Tennessee Wilderness Act, access to the lands would not change, and land would remain open to hunting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, camping, paddling, and other forms of recreation already allowed in the proposal areas. 

Outdoor recreation is a critical part of Tennessee’s economy. The passage of the bill would only enhance the outdoor recreation economy, as it would show businesses that preservation is a sound investment. According to the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2013 economic report, the outdoor recreation industry generates $8.2 billion in consumer spending in Tennessee annually and creates 83,000 in direct jobs in the state. 

“My business depends on preserving our big backyard,” said Dawson Wheeler, co-owner of Rock/Creek Outfitters in Chattanooga and Benton. “I want to thank Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker for their steadfast leadership on the Tennessee Wilderness Act.  It is now time for the House to follow their lead and Congress to pass this bill.” 


TFWC Creates A CWD Deer Hunting Unit And Implements Science-Based Regulations For Disease Management

Invasive Tick Detected In Tennessee

“Mountains Touched With Fire” Confederate Artillery On Lookout Mountain Program Set For June 8


The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission has made changes to deer hunting regulations in continued response to chronic wasting disease (CWD) which was found in three southwestern Tennessee ... (click for more)

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Tennessee Department of Health, and University of Tennessee Institute ... (click for more)

On Saturday, June 8, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will conduct artillery programs at Point Park on Lookout Mountain. Demonstrations, each lasting approximately 30 minutes, ... (click for more)


Outdoors

TFWC Creates A CWD Deer Hunting Unit And Implements Science-Based Regulations For Disease Management

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission has made changes to deer hunting regulations in continued response to chronic wasting disease (CWD) which was found in three southwestern Tennessee counties last winter. The commission approved the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s recommendation to establish a new CWD deer hunting unit for the counties in which we have found CWD-positive ... (click for more)

Invasive Tick Detected In Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Tennessee Department of Health, and University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) on Friday announced the detection of the invasive Asian longhorned tick in Tennessee. The Asian longhorned tick has now spread to 11 states. The Centers for Disease ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Jury Finds Salas-Rufino Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder In Stabbing Death

A Criminal Court jury on Friday found Zacarias "Carlos" Salas-Rufino guilty of second-degree murder as charged. Judge Barry Steelman will set the sentence on July 25. A city police officer testified on Wednesday that he found Yessica Ruiz covered with blood and her two children sobbing beside her on Sept. 26, 2016. It was testified at an earlier hearing that Salas-Rufino ... (click for more)

Frank Fischer Returns To Lead Volkswagen Chattanooga

Volkswagen announced on Friday that Frank Fischer, who led the company's operations in Chattanooga from 2008-2014, is returning to the plant as chief executive. Mr. Fischer was with the local plant when they broke ground in 2008. He left Chattanooga in 2014 to work for a Volkswagen factory in Germany. Mr. Fischer will take the place of Antonio Pinto, who is transferring to ... (click for more)

Opinion

It Is Outrageous That County School Administration Used Our Tax Dollars For Political Lobbying

Dear Dr. Johnson, The campaign central at HCDE headquarters needs a Tennessee Little Hatch Act study time and education. The heart of the issue is that HCDE utilized our tax dollars to lobby against vouchers with employee time, equipment, and lobby payments. Here is my point, I supported ESA vouchers for Hamilton County, and so did a lot of families that desired parental ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

With all due reverence and respect for Memorial Day this Monday, The Saturday Funnies knows that those who gave their lives to preserve our freedom deserve not our laughter, but our warm memories of their devotion to our country and our fellow troops. But if you were to venture into a VFW this weekend, or come across two or more of our heroes sharing a toast, it is a safe bet ... (click for more)