Obed Wild and Scenic River
Completion of the Obed Wild and Scenic River: the designating Legislation that established the Obed Wild and Scenic River as part of the National Park System outlined the boundaries for the park. Of the 5000 authorized acres, slightly more than 4000 acres have been protected by easement or purchase.
The Anglers, campers, hikers, paddlers, swimmers and others who recreate in the Obed and its tributaries currently enjoy primitive conditions that are much like they were 100 years ago. That rare experience is threatened by development on the remaining approximately 1000 acres. TCWP works hard to preserve these acres.
In the past several months, TCWP has purchased two tracts of land that will be donated to the park. This was possible due to grant funding. Additionally, $1.2 million were appropriated in the NPS budget through Land and Water Conservation Funds (LWCF) for land acquisition in the Obed. We make steady albeit slow progress.
We will continue to call on our elected officials to appropriate more funds for LWCF, with the help of ally groups including Obed Watershed Community Association, Sierra Club, Foundation for Global Sustainability, Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation and others.
Cherokee National Forest
The U. S. Forest Service revisits Forest Management Plans periodically to fine tune management policies. In the most recent Cherokee Forest Management Plan, six new areas were recommended for Wilderness Designation. This most protective level of management is reserved for very special places in the forest.
Currently there are bills introduced in both the Senate and the House to designate three of the special areas for Wilderness level management. It is hoped the bills can be reconciled and enacted before the end of the year.
Over the last several years, Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning has supported a petition. It asks that surface mining be deemed unsuitable in the North Cumberlands. That petition is wending OBED preservation history.